Welfare Reform Blog

DWP answers key questions on Universal Credit

January 24, 2013

Back in November, allpay attended a seminar on Universal Credit in Westminster where Dominic Brankin, part of the Department for Work and Pensions' Implementation & Delivery team for Universal Credit, was discussing April's pathfinder projects.

Mr Brankin was kind enough to stay for a Q&A session afterwards where he answered a number of queries and took notes on the questions he needed to consult on with a view to making the answers available to delegates at a later date.

Those answers were published last month and make for some interesting reading which you may find useful.

Questions such as 'Does a change in tenancy trigger a natural migration on to Universal Credit' and 'How are payment dates for Universal Credit determined?' etc. I've pasted the Q&As below.

How are payment dates for Universal Credit determined?

The claimant's assessment period will run one month from their date of claim and their payday will be fixed at no more than 7 days after the end of their initial assessment period. For example: Assessment period 29 November to 28 December. Payday is 4 January.

Payday is then fixed as the 4th day of each month except if it needs to be advanced for weekends / bank holidays.

Incidentally, it's worth noting that where we have been able to support our clients is with a direct debit service that can collect payments on every date of the month which offers a range of frequencies e.g. weekly, fortnightly, monthly, four-weekly etc.

Direct payment and supported housing - women in refuges will be able to have rent costs paid to the landlord. Does this apply to all supported housing?

It doesn't apply to all supported housing. Only where it is a not for profit landlord such as Housing Association, County Council, Charity or voluntary organisation where they are providing care, support or supervision. It follows the current legal definition of supported exemption accommodation. Such support will be met outside of Universal Credit.

People in emergency accommodation – such as bed & breakfast accommodation - how are they handled in UC?

All Universal Credit claimants housed in temporary accommodation, including those in bed and breakfast accommodation, by a Local Authority in discharging the Homelessness Duty, will receive their housing support as part of their Universal Credit. This will be based on the appropriate Local Housing Allowance rate in the private rented sector for the household composition of the claimant.

More information can be found in the recent "Housing Benefit / Council Tax Benefit bulletin G10 / 2012", which can be found on the "information for Local Authority staff pages" on the Department’s website.

Does a change in tenancy trigger a natural migration?

A change of address/tenancy acts as an natural migration trigger only where the customer moves from one Local Authority to another and would be required to make a new claim for Housing Benefit.

What kind of stakeholder communications are planned, and when can they be expected?

Stakeholder engagement has been a key part of the development of Universal Credit and will continue to be critical to its successful implementation. A range of stakeholders have direct relationships with lead officials and a large number of diverse organisations receive regular updates through our established communication channels. Many of these organisations will have a significant role to play in delivering services and support to many of the future claimants of Universal Credit. We are currently developing a specific toolkit of information that they will be able to access and use. The toolkit will be hosted online and will be made available in January 2013, after which time it will be regularly updated.


About allpay

allpay offers housing associations, ALMOs and councils the widest range of payment collection solutions, allowing their residents to pay rent and council tax through both of the major cash networks, PayPoint and Post Office®; with a debit or credit card over the phone or via the internet or through a smartphone using the allpay App.

We also collect direct debits on behalf of our clients every date of the month, offering residents a range of frequencies e.g. weekly, fortnightly, four-weekly, monthly, etc.

Blog author Nick Peplow is allpay’s business development director and heads up the company’s work to support housing associations and councils ahead of Universal Credit.