Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit “quirk” means Hundreds of Thousands are threatened with Housing Underpayment.

with 19 comments

Image result for universal credit

Universal Credit Achievement.

Food is bad enough.

But if there is one thing people really worry about, it’s housing.

You only have to walk around here to see why: figures in the doorways sleeping in evening.

People get anxious, to say the least, about threats such as having a ‘review’ of their cases when they get Personal Independence Payment.

Transferring to Universal Credit means a gap in money – making not just the rent hard to pay, but demands for the full rate of Council Tax.

All the benefits listed on the DWP site carry the potential to get taken away.

Sanctions are there to remind us, that like some bad nipper, we lose our supper and sweets because we haven’t done our homework.

You can see what can happen:

I don’t think those who’re not on the Dole realise just how small the amount we get weekly is:

Age JSA weekly amount
Up to 24 up to £57.90
25 or over up to £73.10
Couples (both aged over 18) up to £114.85

The  writer of this post lives in the centre of a large town, and doesn’t have to pay bus fares.

This is the cost of what is essential for anybody who wants to come to the library or the Job Centre on public transport (and Ipswich is cheap):

Ipswich Town Fares
One Zone (Pink) Two Zone (Yellow)
Single £1.00 £1.50
Return £1.90 £2.90

That’s quite wodge on top of all the other expenses.

Not that this kind of thing concerns her ladyship Amber Rudd:

Now there is this.

Universal Credit technicality threatens hundreds of thousands with Underpayment

Hundreds of thousands of social housing tenants on Universal Credit are set to have their housing costs underpaid in the next financial year due to a quirk in the calendar which means 53 weekly rent payments will fall due.

The article continues,

The National Housing Federation (NHF) is currently at loggerheads with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over the issue.

Many social landlords collect rent every Monday – and in 2019/20 there will be 53 Mondays.

However, the Universal Credit system will continue to account for 52 rent weeks over the year only, meaning that thousands of social tenants across the UK who pay their rent weekly will be one week short and face rent arrears.

The 53-week phenomenon last occurred in 2013/14. Then, fewer than 20,000 people were claiming Universal Credit but now there are more than 1.5 million.

As of August, around 290,000 social rented households were using Universal Credit to pay their rent, many on a weekly basis.

Housing association Bolton at Home estimates that its 4,000 tenants paying will be left a total of £300,000 short, while Rochdale Boroughwide Housing says 3,000 residents will have a gap of £220,000.

The Mirror also reports:

Universal Credit: Hundreds of thousands of people set to lose out on a week’s rent

Housing associations say the problem will hit tenants who pay rent weekly in 2019/20 – and demanded action from the DWP to close the “bizarre” loophole.

……..

Labour MP Ruth George, who has raised the issue face-to-face with DWP chief Amber Rudd, added: “Having 53 weeks of rent in a year is an anomaly of the system, it’s not anyone’s fault.

“So to refuse to compensate tenants on Universal Credit is a bizarre decision that will leave claimants even more out of pocket.”

The problem, raised by the NHF and first reported by Inside Housing, is expected to affect Universal Credit claimants who pay weekly rent once every six years.

The NHF says that because UC is paid monthly, it is calculated using a formula that effectively takes 52 of a claimant’s weekly rent payments and divides the total by 12.

But there are 52 weeks plus one day in each year. That means every six years or so, a tenant has to make 53 rent payments, not 52.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 25, 2019 at 5:04 pm

19 Responses

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  1. Having to pay the full rate of council tax while you transfer to UC, where are you supposed to find the money for this swizz… out of your jacksy!

    Tigerlily

    January 25, 2019 at 7:03 pm

  2. Wish I ONLY had social housing tenants six yearly 53 weeks problem.
    While I sympathise, a little,
    try being a private tenant;
    way higher rents, top ups to pay, usually more cramped, much less secure tenancy, etc,
    Signs up saying no DSS/ Dogs/ housing benefits etc

    Thought Criminal

    January 25, 2019 at 8:03 pm

  3. 100pc Tower Hamlets council tax reduction for poorest families being expanded to more households

    The means-tested scheme means they don’t pay a penny, while the amount for others is base on what is “reasonable” for them to fork out.

    Tower Hamlets is one of only nine London boroughs offering 100 per cent reduction for the poorest households.

    https://www.eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk/news/politics/council-tax-reduction-for-poor-families-widened-to-more-tower-hamlets-households-1-5866523

    ken

    January 26, 2019 at 12:06 am

  4. 👿 I wanna play a game 👿

    Jigsaw

    January 26, 2019 at 12:10 am

    • The jobcentre will play one for you.

      ken

      January 26, 2019 at 2:35 pm

  5. Universal Credit is a perfect example of how complex projects go belly up when innumerate halfwits design and implement them. i.e., morons like Iain Duncan Smith and Lord David Freud force things forward with the help of uninterested moronic MPs, paying no attention to warnings from capable and competent third parties and from within the civil service. Can you imagine any other European country making such a balls up, not even having the mathematical skill to plan payments properly taking account of completely predictable ad well known cycles associated with the calendar? Based on all these countless cock-ups, easily avoidable and which should never have happened, you’d think we were a banana republic rather than a developed first world country wouldn’t you?

    Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

    January 26, 2019 at 8:48 am

    • Have you considered the possibility it was all foreseen in advance, with the founders of UC actually designing it to be as unpleasant, stressful, and with as many of these kind of pitfalls incorporated as possible?

      Torries make a career out of projecting an image of trying to be helpful, but unfortunately being a little out of touch.
      Teresa May doing the same with Brexit, pretending to be a hapless, clueless, weak halfwit to stall and prevent leaving.
      Our lives are just a game to them,

      Thought Criminal

      January 26, 2019 at 11:48 am

      • Is UC programmed to take account of leap years? Rumour has it that UC ‘crashes’ when the clocks go backwards/forwards! What about major unpredictable calendar events such as the switchover from 2019 to
        2020? 2100? Will millions go without because the UC programmers didn’t have the foresight to envision the next decade or century. Thank God/Allah/Insert the Deity of Your Choice that very few of us who are alive today will be around in on Wednesday, 1st January 3000 when UC really goes tits up!

        Nostradamus

        January 26, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      • It was Alex Salmond, Former First Minister of Scotchland who gave the game away. During a chat show, maybe he had one fizzy water too many who said: “Now if I was in politician mode I would listen intently to what you had to say, give it very careful consideration, then tell you exactly what you want to hear.” This is politicians in a nutshell – all of them!

        Pistachio

        January 26, 2019 at 12:14 pm

  6. Haven’t signed on in over a decade, but with my self-employment now not really viable due to declining business, I’ve had to. The process is every bit the Orwellian nightmare I’ve seen described; a process clearly designed to humiliate, infantilize, and generally browbeat people into meek surrender. Historically we had low levels of unemployment benefit which had the saving grace of not being tired up in mountains of conditionality, now we have unemployment benefit which is in real terms even lower, and which is riven with bad faith conditionality intended to create the pretext for it being denied to claimants.

    Ross

    January 26, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    • Its even worse if your self employed as DWPs idea of that is you working for an agency, not being your own business which if they haven’t told you yet, they, not you gets to decide if its viable to do and or continue. For a government that didn’t hesitate to bail out the banks, they sure wont and dont show the self employed the same support.
      Its no wonder people are ram raiding shops for ATMs, its the only way to escape the destitute welfare programme.

      doug

      January 26, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      • At present I’m prepared to take pretty much anything, and I’ve not even had my first payment yet, so the thumbscrews have not yet been applied. Am sure they will be in time though.

        Ross

        January 26, 2019 at 1:03 pm

      • doug

        An enormous amount of taxpayers’ money across the UK is being wasted because of PFI also known as as Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) North of the Border. There is a massive scandal about to break up North. Millions of pounds are simply disappearing in the shape of ‘consultant fee’ and simply just disappearing. The Scotch are being sold ramshackle public buildings such as hospital where patients are dying by the cart-load. ‘Ram-raiders’ are amateurs compared to the PFI/SFT crooks. They only difference being is that when the ram-raiders are caught they are severely punished whilst PFI/SFF fraudsters disappear into the sunset with their ill-gotten gain. As for ‘benefit cheats’ they don’t even appear. As for Jeannie on the dole who does a £10 a week cleaning job on the side. Pfft! But we all know who we will see hauled up in court to face the full force of the Law.

        Anyway back to PFI: PFI companies are ripping the tax payer off in some gigantic frauds but mostly simply by massively overcharging. In contrast workers in these new privatised prison are paid peanuts.
        The collapse of Carillion should demonstrate to us all just how stupid the system is and how inherently corrupt it is.

        If you watch the Gene Wilder Zero Mostel film the Producers a comedy by Mel Brooks you can see the type of fraud in action on a much smaller scale.

        The directors of Carillion even made off with the companies cash flow. The pension funds of man,y many pensioners from respectable companies which had been merged to form Carillion were stolen too. The tax payer is left to pay a proportion of their pensions instead. But the pensioners themselves lose out massively.

        As already mentioned, The NHS is having about 40% of their budget stolen in this way by PFI companies overcharging for buildings and equipment.

        The Police ( ironically ) are having large amounts of their budget stolen by PFI companies massively overcharging too.

        The size of the thefts are so audacious they seem too big for the authorities and the civil service to deal with. They literally take your breath away.

        Many many people abroad but especially in the USA have a genuine dislike of our NHS and are delighted to try to bring the service down by massively overcharging the NHS for buildings and equipment in PFI deals- making themselves very rich in the process. In contrast foreign Doctors who come to this country say we have the most efficient effective form of health care in the world and are at a loss to understand why WHITEHALL top civil servants seem determined to wreck the NHS through PFI deals.

        Tabandeh

        January 26, 2019 at 2:24 pm

      • doug

        An enormous amount of taxpayers’ money across the UK is being wasted because of PFI also known as as Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) North of the Border. There is a massive scandal about to break up North. Millions of pounds are simply disappearing in the shape of ‘consultant fees’ and simply just disappearing. The Scotch are being sold ramshackle public buildings such as hospital where patients are dying by the cart-load. ‘Ram-raiders’ are amateurs compared to the PFI/SFT crooks. They only difference being is that when the ram-raiders are caught they are severely punished whilst PFI/SFF fraudsters disappear into the sunset with their ill-gotten gain. As for ‘benefit cheats’ they don’t even appear on the radar. As for Jeannie on the dole who does a £10 a week cleaning job on the side. Pfft! But we all know who we will see hauled up in court to face the full force of the Law.

        Anyway back to PFI: PFI companies are ripping the tax payer off in some gigantic frauds but mostly simply by massively overcharging. Take prisons for example. In contrast workers in these new privatised prison are paid peanuts.

        The collapse of Carillion should demonstrate to us all just how stupid the system is and how inherently corrupt it is.

        If you watch the Gene Wilder Zero Mostel film the Producers a comedy by Mel Brooks you can see the type of fraud in action on a much smaller scale.

        The directors of Carillion even made off with the companies cash flow. The pension funds of man,y many pensioners from respectable companies which had been merged to form Carillion were stolen too. The tax payer is left to pay a proportion of their pensions instead. But the pensioners themselves lose out massively.

        As already mentioned, The NHS is having about 40% of their budget stolen in this way by PFI companies overcharging for buildings and equipment.

        The Police ( ironically ) are having large amounts of their budget stolen by PFI companies massively overcharging too.

        The size of the thefts are so audacious they seem too big for the authorities and the civil service to deal with. They literally take your breath away.

        Many many people abroad but especially in the USA have a genuine dislike of our NHS and are delighted to try to bring the service down by massively overcharging the NHS for buildings and equipment in PFI deals- making themselves very rich in the process. In contrast foreign Doctors who come to this country say we have the most efficient effective form of health care in the world and are at a loss to understand why WHITEHALL top civil servants seem determined to wreck the NHS through PFI deals.

        Tabandeh

        January 26, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    • The worst thing for the self-employed who receive UC, in lieu of tax credits, is that everything is assessed, arbitrarily, on a monthly basis rather than a yearly basis, which is usual for a business. So although you may be profitable over the financial year if you have a lean month, or several under par months, you end up getting little or no UC top-up for those months because your earnings for those months temporarily fell below an arbitrary minimum income floor.

      https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit/on-universal-credit/how-the-minimum-income-floor-works-if-youre-self-employed/

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/25/universal-credit-self-employed-benefit-slash

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/29/universal-credit-penalises-the-self-employed-report-warns

      This is a weird way to treat the self-employed because most businesses have lulls during the year, many not having much turnover or even making losses during such periods, but make up these deficits later and are profitable at the end of the financial year.

      It seems that UC is out to screw over everybody, including the self-employed who are often Tory voters.

      Hammer on the Mountain

      January 26, 2019 at 4:12 pm

      • ”arbitrary minimum income floor ”
        Yes, the self employed are assumed to earn at least
        35 hours (usually) x the min wage for their age group.
        eg for a over 25 about £1200 every calendar month
        – even if they actually earn zero.

        So if their preliminary universal credit award is less than that, it means they will never get anything.
        if its above they just get the difference.

        There’s some exemptions where this doesn’t apply for the first year, say you are on UC and then set a new business up – but even then it seems the work coach (roach) get to decide.
        And it’s not clear how this works for already up and running business moving onto UC?

        The crazy thing about it is , there’s becoming a 2 tier system with a small number of people on the punishment UC and the rest still (fast asleep) on the old system maybe for years to come too,,
        Should be the same for everyone at the same time , so the people can decide if they want to riot or vote out the government

        Thought Criminal

        January 26, 2019 at 6:09 pm

  7. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating!.

    A6er

    January 26, 2019 at 6:35 pm

  8. Disabled mum had her benefits cut just hours after her husband died of cancer – and had to use a credit card to bury him

    She went from getting over £1,300 a month to nothing and ended up in £5,000 debt

    https://inews.co.uk/news/real-life/disabled-mum-had-her-benefits-cut-just-hours-after-her-husband-died-of-cancer-and-had-to-use-a-credit-card-to-bury-him/

    ken

    January 26, 2019 at 10:07 pm

  9. The Currant Bun has caught up with this story (today),

    RENTAL PAIN Universal Credit payment loophole could leave hundreds of thousands of renters out of pocket
    Tenants who receive help with their housing costs and pay rent weekly will miss out on a week’s worth of rent this year

    ” spokesperson for the DWP told The Sun: “No one on Universal Credit will be left with a week’s rent shortfall as a result of having 53 rent payments in a year.

    “Having 53 rent days does not mean paying more rent over a year as most of the final payment will cover the first week’s rent for the following year.”

    The DWP also points out that it provides struggling claimants with budgeting advice and pays rent directly to landlords if requested.”

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8295081/universal-credit-payment-loophole-hundreds-thousands-renters/

    Andrew Coates

    January 28, 2019 at 3:01 pm


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