New draft regulations for Universal Credit

The DWP have published some new regulations, and more importantly some new draft regulations, to cover the Universal Credit system. This follows the comments of the Social Security Advisory Committee and the government response. The SSAC’s response focuses on five main issues:

  • self employment
  • housing
  • the benefit caps
  • sanctions, and
  • claims and payments.

There are several hundred pages to work through, and it will take me some time to absorb what’s in the package. It’s possible to identify immediately some concerns which have been responded to, and others which have not. Among those which have been responded to

  • couples whose relationships have broken down should not be bound to make joint declarations (though there is some vagueness about this)
  • unemployed people who are sick will be able to submit medical evidence to cover longer periods.

Problems which remain include

  • inconsistent periods for calculation, including scattered references to periods of days, weeks and months
  • the requirement that unemployed people should be looking for work for 35 hours a week
  • a failure in the regulations to specify criteria for identifying different liabilities to undertake work related activity.

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