Document Abstract

Helping hand? Improving Universal Credit

Explores the impact of the unique and key design features of Universal Credit (UC) during three critical stages of the claimant experience: accessing UC; managing on UC; and progressing on UC. Draws on a literature review of national and local evidence; consultations with academics, politicians, civil servants, and front-line volunteers and professionals; two informal focus groups with representatives of national and local charities; and forty semi-structured interviews with current UC claimants. Examines how easily claimants are able to access UC, looking at: initially registering for, and subsequently accessing, UC online; and receiving the initial UC award after a minimum five-week wait. Considers claimants’ experiences of managing on UC, reflecting on: the single payment; monthly payment in arrears; and payment of the housing element of UC to all tenants. Assesses how easily claimants are able to progress whilst in receipt of UC, in terms of: the taper rate, work allowances and the removal of hours-based thresholds; the role of work coaches; increased conditionality; and increased sanctioning. Concludes that most claimants are coping with and adapting to UC, but that there is a significant minority of claimants that are struggling, and recommends new policies to address some of the challenges identified.

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Publication information

Author:
Shorthouse, Ryan; Lampier, Sam; Sarygulov, Anvar
Year:
2019
Pages:
158
Ref No:
B52659
Source:
Bright Blue

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