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Worse off under Universal Credit?

Thursday 15th June 2017

With the Universal Credit full service being rolled out to ever more jobcentres, our helpline is speaking to increasing numbers of parents who fall under the Universal Credit system.

Unfortunately some parents are being left much worse off as a result of having to claim Universal Credit, especially as a result of cuts to the child disability addition for children who do not get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care at the highest rate.

Val has been on Universal Credit since the start of 2017. However, her son's DLA was recently reviewed and the care component has been reduced from the higher rate care to the middle rate care. Because he no longer qualifies for the higher rate for personal care, her Universal Credit payments have been cut by £31.85 per week.

Mary is a single parent with two children one of whom gets DLA at the middle rate for care and low rate for mobility. She recently gave up her part-time work because it was too difficult juggling work with caring for her son. Because she lives in a full service area, she had to claim Universal Credit rather than Income Support. Her Universal Credit payments are £31.85 per week lower than what she would have got under Income Support and child tax credit. 

Lisa is a lone parent with two disabled children who works part-time on a zero hours contract. Her eldest is in residential care and is treated as 'looked after' by the local authority. Because her working hours are so infrequent, Lisa wanted to give up work and claim Income Support.

However, our helpline staff have had to advise her against giving up work. Since she lives in a full service area, she would not be able to claim Income Support and would need to claim Universal Credit instead. Under Universal Credit rules she wouldn't get any extra payments for her child in residential care, leaving her facing a cut of £148 per week.

Tell the prime minister to stop Universal Credit cuts

Contact a Family is very worried that more than 100,000 other parents with disabled children are also at risk of being worse off on Universal Credit. For that reason we are calling on the prime minister to reverse cuts to child disability payments under Universal Credit.

Join us by signing our petition today.

For more information about why some families are worse off on Universal Credit, see our free briefing on 'Universal Credit and disabled children' [PDF].