Lisa Smith, Head of Service, Benefits, Taxation and Income, Wendy Betts (Benefits Manager), Michelle Kaye (Service Manager – Housing and Welfare) and Joanne Dearnley (Local Partnership Manager, DWP) delivered a presentation to Members about Universal Credit Full Service.
Key points included:
· Universal Credit (UC) replaces JSA, ESA, WTC, CTC, Income Support and Housing Benefit.
· UC applications, claims and appointments are made online, paid monthly in arrears and is only for working age people.
· UC went ‘live from 13th September 2017. There are currently 3000 people in Barnsley on UC, 1855 claimants have moved from HB to UC.
· Claimants are responsible for paying their own rent.
· Advances are available before the first payment is due and a further payment is issued at week 5.
· UC tapers off as wages increase
· A grant has been given to Barnsley Council for budgeting and IT support, which is widely available through Berneslai Homes ‘device doctors’, digital champions and the CAB.
· IT support is available
Members asked a number of questions and appropriate responses were given, including the following:
· Information is shared between organisations within 5 days and is processed as soon as possible. Over 90% of payments are made within 5 weeks.
· There is no evidence of an increase in homelessness, arrears or increased use of hostel provision.
· It will no longer be possible to obtain information regarding mapping of benefits/need/criteria across wards, which raises a policy planning issue and is of concern to members.
(i) Attendees be thanked for their attendance and contribution;
(ii) The presentation and Implications thereof be noted, and
(iii) Copies of the presentation and details of Digital Champions offering IT support across wards be circulated.