The DWP have explained the guidance for who will be included in the pilots. In the interests of public service, I’m going to quote the criteria in full.
To be eligible to claim Universal Credit during the Pathfinder (as opposed to existing benefits), you must:
• live in a specified postcode area but not be homeless, in supported or temporary accommodation or a homeowner
• be single, with no dependent children, a British citizen and aged between 18 years and 60 years and 6 months
• be fit for work
• not have a claim to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) that ended in the last two weeks, except where ESA ended due to a decision that you no longer have limited capability for work
• not be pregnant or be within 15 weeks after the expected date of birth;
• not be receiving existing benefits (including Housing Benefit) or Tax Credits or awaiting a decision on, or be appealing against, a decision not to award any of those
• not be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
• have expected take home pay no higher than £270 per month (under 25s) or £330 per month (25 or over) and not have savings in excess of £6,000
• not have any caring responsibilities
• not be self-employed, in education or have to rely on an appointee; and
• have a valid bank account and National Insurance Number.
This system is meant to be brought into operation, starting in October, for over eight million people. It seems somehow unlikely that a pilot on this basis can offer anything like enough preparation.
Further information, 31st July: The pilots have also given up on full digital contact. A DWP guide to claimants. “Your claim journey” explains: “After you make your Universal Credit claim, most interactions will be face to face, by telephone or by post. In time the range of Universal Credit activities that can be done online will increase.”