Citizens Advice Ashfield has said some disabled people in the area could be around £300 a month worse off under Universal Credit compared to the previous system.
The new benefit – which rolls 6 legacy benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance into one monthly payment – is set to be rolled out in Ashfield in November
A report published by national Citizens Advice – Universal Credit for Single Disabled People – revealed a significant drop in financial support for some single disabled people in a range of circumstances.
This includes losses that can be more than £300 a month for working disabled people because of flaws in the design of the new benefit. The Work Allowance is meant to improve work incentives for disabled people in Universal Credit.
However, in practice, the Work Allowance can only be accessed through the Work Capability Assessment, which gives benefits awards to people unable to work, rather than for disabled people who can work.
This creates the situation where a worker must be assessed as not fit for work to receive targeted in-work support.
Universal Credit is the government’s flagship welfare programme that rolls 6 legacy benefits – such as Tax Credits and Employment and Support Allowance – into one monthly payment.
Citizens Advice Ashfield is calling on the government to make changes to the design of Universal Credit to make sure disabled people aren’t penalised when they claim the new benefit.
Kathryn Stacey, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Ashfield said:
“We are concerned about the toll Universal Credit could have on disabled people in Ashfield.
“They can be hundreds of pounds worse off than under the previous system – even when they do get the support meant for them.
This money is desperately needed to cover key costs including essential bills and stop people falling into serious financial difficulty.
“The government must fix Universal Credit and increase the financial support disabled people can receive under the new benefit.”