Fairer Scotland

Flexibilities on Universal Credit – give us your views

January 27, 2017 by No Comments | Category Welfare and Social Security

At the heart of our plans for new social security powers is making sure that we listen to the people who actually use the system.

Earlier this month we announced Universal Credit (UC) payments in Scotland will become more frequent and adaptable, under new powers from the Scotland Act 2016. And right now we’re consulting on exactly how we do that.

We know people value having control and choice over their payments wherever possible and for the first time we’re able to do that – and we want to know what people think.

New applicants who live in Full Service areas – local authority areas where a digital claiming system has been set up by the UK Government – will be given the option of having their benefit payments made twice a month; and also to have the housing costs part of their benefit paid directly to their landlord if they choose.

Right now the DWP pays monthly, and during our major social security consultation last year that was repeatedly raised with us as a big concern.

So we acting now on what we heard because we believe that the choice to have twice-monthly payments can really help people manage their money and make life a bit easier for folk who have to make a tight budget work for them and their family.

The consultation also highlighted that people thought paying the housing element of UC directly to landlords would be another important improvement, so we’re introducing that option as well.

We’ve gone a bit further too by offering this choice to tenants in the private rented sector as well as those in social housing.

This is our first chance to use our new powers. And we’ve used that opportunity to take steps that will make life easier for the people who use the system here in Scotland. We expect that between 650,000 and 700,000 households will benefit from these flexibilities by the end of the UK Government’s planned UC roll out by 2022.

Like everything else we’re trying to do with social security and new welfare powers, changing the frequency and flexibility of payments is based directly on what we’ve been told by those who have experience of the UK system as it stands and how they want us to make things better.

We’re determined that everyone who uses our social security system in Scotland is treated with dignity, fairness and respect, and this is our important first step.

So please let us hear your views – https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/low-income-benefits/universal-credit-claims-and-payments/

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