Quids in Universal Credit Watch graphic

Complex System Trips Benefit Claims

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Over a third of Universal Credit claimants assisted by Citizens Advice face delays to payment because they cannot provide the paperwork the system demands.

The charity says just under half (48%) struggled to provide evidence of health conditions. Slightly fewer (40%) could not locate paperwork relating to their housing. One in three (35%) found it hard to produce details of childcare arrangements.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “While Universal Credit is working for most people, our evidence shows a large minority are struggling to navigate the system.”

This echoes research by Quids in! that found claimants with more support requirements were more likely to face delays to payments. Its 10 Critical Insights on UC report found claimants faced conflicting advice and sometimes did not understand the directions given by work coaches. The more complex the claim, the more likely the system was to ‘trip’ and start the claim over.

Citizens Advice found one in four people found the claim process so tricky, it took them more than a week to complete it. People applying must complete ten stages. Some must be finished within a timescale and failing to restarts the process.

The charity is calling on the government to simplify the forms and promote the support on offer better.

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