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The government’s expert adviser on social security has said the next phase in the rollout of universal credit could push thousands of claimants into hardship or even out of the benefits system altogether.

Sir Ian Diamond, the chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC), a formal body providing advice to the work and pensions secretary, said plans to move 3 million people to the benefit from next year loaded an “unreasonable level of risk” on to claimants.

Under the government’s proposals around 2 million people currently on tax credits and around 750,000 who receive out-of-work disability benefits will be given a month to make a claim for universal credit or risk having their existing benefits stopped. They will then face a five-week wait for the first payment.

“We are concerned that … aspects of the proposals load an unreasonable level of risk on to the claimant. We fear that, in too many cases, they may be adversely impacted by the proposals or fall out of the social security system entirely,” Diamond wrote in a blog post on the SSAC’s website.

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source: The Guardian
published: 31 October 2018

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