The Work and Pensions Secretary announced to the Work and Pensions Select Committee that the benefit helpline number for Universal Credit will become a free phone number. Later on the same day (Wednesday 18 October) there was a debate in the House of Commons on Universal Credit.
Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive at disability charity Scope, said:
“It’s welcome news that disabled people will no longer have to face unreasonable phone charges as they start a claim for Universal Credit.
“But for some disabled people the switch to Universal Credit could leave them up to £400 a month worse off on the money needed for the basics in life, such as food, clothing and heating.
“If the Government doesn’t address this, it will unfairly penalise disabled people for moving over to Universal Credit.”
Notes to the editor:Reference:
Scope's calculation is based on a disabled person placed in the work related activity group of employment and support allowance, who also receives Severe Disability Premium moving on to Universal Credit would see a reduction in benefit of £395.45 per month: from £713.27 to £317.82.
Calculations have been made using DWP (2016) Proposed Benefit and Pension Rates 2017 - 2018