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universal credits

Postby jeff3 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:34 pm

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The government is pressing ahead with the roll-out of its Universal Credit (UC) replacement to the benefits system in spite of huge delays and problems – and continuing problems so ingrained that foodbank use has increased sharply in every area where is has been implemented.
UC contains a draconian set of provisions, including a ‘Claimant Commitment’ (CC) – a set of imposed requirements to which the claimant has no right of appeal whatever. As the government’s guidance on CCs states:
There is no right of appeal if a claimant refuses to accept their Claimant Commitment and the requirements that have been set out in it.
A JCP adviser – who might be incompetent, inexperienced, bitter, have a personality clash with the claimant or just simply be having a bad day – is the final arbiter of whether a CC is reasonable and achievable, and even a patently bad decision cannot be appealed for a higher opinion.
And if a claimant refuses to sign?
If the claimant still refuses to accept their Claimant Commitment then he or she will no longer be entitled to claim Universal Credit.
All this is bad enough – inhumane enough. But there is worse. An activist contacted the SKWAWKBOX to highlight an even more sinister aspect to UC and the CC:
Nobody is mentioning the JSA equivalent time out clause, 24 months to find a job or you are sanctioned for one year.
That is 100% across the board sanctioning. Basically, 24 months to find a job or you are on the streets with zero support.
UC calls this conditionality, a claimant under full conditionality has a set time to find work if they are unsuccessful then they are sanctioned for 1 year. It’s one of the most dangerous aspects of UC, that has been pretty much swept under the carpet.
A fixed time to find a job – or a one-year sanction? A sanction is the immediate and complete removal of support. Anyone who has seen Ken Loach’s superb I, Daniel Blake knows how devastating this is and what the consequences can be.
And the most hideous aspect of this hideous system is that it applies to disabled people. Two years to find work or you’re cut off from support.
It’s hard to imagine that this could be true, that anyone could be so lacking in humanity as to devise such a system, let alone enforce it. But it is true. A DWP insider told the SKWAWKBOX:
Yes, it’s absolutely true and absolutely appalling.
A claimant can either be placed in the WRAG (work-related activity group) or SG (support group), depending on what the healthcare professional has put in their report as part of the Work Capability Assessment (WCS).
However, if neither the WRAG or SG have been satisfied then the claimant is considered fit for work on the grounds of no Limited Capability for Work (LCW) then they must either appeal or claim Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) (or remain claiming UC if they are claiming this benefit).
The “JSA equivalent” is the WRAG – people who have been assessed as disabled but still capable of working.
A claimant used to be paid an extra WRAG premium of around £26 a week, but this was axed from 3 April 2017 – but for new claimants only who claim from this date, existing claimants are exempt – for now.
As the WRAG is no longer payable, the claimant will only receive the JSA rate of £73.10 a week (or £102.50 for a couple claim). This is because the WRAG means the claimant must attend the Jobcentre periodically and see their Work Coach to get them back into work. Failure to comply at any time will result in a sanction. SG claimants are exempt and are not required to attend the Jobcentre – but that could be about to change.
But your source is correct. If WRAG claimants haven’t found work within two years, under the new rules they will be sanctioned for a year.
Blanket, deadline-based sanctioning of 100% of the people put into a group by a medical assessment that is widely considered arbitrary.
This frankly evil aspect of Universal Credit needs to be widely understood – and universally opposed – and a government that has this kind of cruelty at its heart cannot be allowed to continue in office.
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