Universal Credit to cost disabled people £300 a month, says new report

Citizens Advice have revealed the serious impact new benefits could have on disabled people living i

Citizens Advice have revealed the serious impact new benefits could have on disabled people living in Suffolk Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A report published by Citizens Advice has revealed the devastating affects of the new benefits system to Suffolk’s disabled people.

The report: “Universal Credit for Single Disabled People” published on Friday, October 26, showed that those living with disabilities across the county would be £300 per month worse off than under the previous welfare system.

The rollout of flagship welfare reform Universal Credit is almost complete in Suffolk and north Essex.

Every district is due to be phased in by January 2019.

People living in Suffolk Coastal, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Chelmsford are among the last to receive the benefit – while others, such as those in Sudbury and Waveney, have had it for nearly a year.

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Citizens Advice Ipswich have already helped over 3,000 people with Universal Credit.

Nelleke van Helfteren, Deputy Manager of Citizens Advice Ipswich, said:“We see the toll that Universal Credit can have on disabled people across Suffolk.

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“They can be hundreds of pounds worse off than under the previous system - even when they do get the support meant for them.

“This money is desperately needed to cover key costs including essential bills and stop people falling into serious financial difficulty.

“The government must fix Universal Credit and increase the financial support disabled people can receive under the new benefit.”

Flaws in the design of Universal Credit have been blamed for the difference in allowances.

The Work Allowance is meant to be an incentive for disabled people who use Universal Credit.

But, according to Citizens Advice, the Work Allowance can only be accessed through the Work Capability Assessment, which gives benefits awards to people unable to work, rather than for disabled people who can work.

A spokesperson from Citizens Advice said: “This creates the situation where a worker must be assessed as not fit for work to receive targeted in-work support.”

The news comes soon after controversy blighted the introduction of Universal Credit.

Former Prime Minister John Major called it the “new poll tax.”

The organisation in Suffolk is calling on the government to make changes to the design of Universal Credit.

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