Universal Credit by deliberate design creates rent arrears and higher eviction and greater homelessness.
That has been admitted by Neil Couling the Universal Credit Director General who does not see this as a problem!
The tweet above is in response to an article run on the Radio 4 Moneybox programme that identified a problem in how Universal Credit treats people in work and who get their wages weekly.
Universal Credit is paid monthly on the same date each month (eg 20th) and in four out of every twelve month period there are five lots of weekly wages paid and 4 wage pay dates in the other 8 months. In the four months when there are 5 wage packets the low paid in work UC claimant will more likely than not get any Universal Credit and note that includes UC housing costs element (the replacement for housing benefit.)
Universal Credit only pays in 8 out of 12 months or 67% of the time.
IF Universal Credit was paid 4 weekly then all such weekly paid workers would see 13 Universal Credit payments each year – the same 52 weeks – and receive 100% of what they are entitled to.
Yet because UC is paid monthly the low paid worker only receives 67% of his or her entitlement each year instead of 100%.
Neil Couling knows this and he states that this so called problem is Universal Credit working as intended! Let there be no doubt that this is deliberate and by design.
How many does this affect? – There are figures bandies about as to how many people in work get paid weekly yet how many of them are on Universal Credit at present nobody knows. Yet what we do know is that there are 1.1 million in-work recipients of housing benefit or UC housing costs. What we also know is all of those will migrate from housing benefit onto Universal Credit in the next few years so this problem will affect all of those in work and paid weekly.
Housing aspect and systemic arrears.
If the weekly payday is Thursday we find in 2018 that March, May, August and November will have 5 pay dates. In those months the tenant will not receive anything towards housing costs in UC and the proverbial hits the fan. January and February the in-work tenant pays his rent the same four-weekly in arrears as the previous Housing Benefit paid directly to his landlord. So at end of February the rent account is in balance.
- End Feb 2018 – rent account in balance
- End of March 2018: Rent account is 4 – 5 weeks in arrears as no UC housing costs payment is made because of the systemic problem
- MID April 2018: – Landlord applies for and gets an alternative payment arrangement (APA) direct from DWP as the tenants account has gone 8 weeks or more in arrears. Note the tenant knows nothing of this situation.
- End of April 2018: Tenant finds that his housing costs payment has gone to his landlord directly as one part of this APA and a second element is that up to £99 of his expected UC payment has also been deducted and given to his landlord. The tenant has no money to pay the rent arrears which stand at 5 weeks less £99.
- End of May 2018: No UC housing costs payment is made as there are 5 Thursdays in May and tenant is now 9 – 10 weeks in arrears (less £99 APA paid in April 2018)
- End of June 2018: Tenant is still 9 – 10 weeks in arrears (less £99 APA from April) and another £99 is deducted from June UC payment.
- End of July 2018: Tenant is still 9 – 10 weeks in arrears (less 3 lots of £99 deducted through APAs
- End of August 2018: Tenant gets no UC housing costs payment so rent account is up to 15 weeks in arrears (minus 3 x £99 pw payments.)
Landlord says sod this for a game of soldiers and decides to evict if they have not done so already as they realise this is a systemic problem directly created by Universal Credit that sees arrears escalate every three months.
I strongly suspect that the vast majority of housing associations will also use the mandatory Ground 8 to evict those in work and weekly paid tenants caught in this systemic UC trap. So as long as the paperwork has its t’s crossed and its i’s dotted then the judge has no choice but to award an outright eviction.
There is a nutshell is what the Universal Credit director General Neil Couling calls a SO CALLED problem and says this is just the Universal Credit system working as INTENDED!
Finally if we say that 20% of those in-work and who receive housing benefit or UC housing costs payment are paid weekly then that is 20% of 1.1 million or 220,000 who are at acute risk of eviction and homelessness because they have committed the cardinal sin of being paid weekly!!
What fucking planet does this government live on and all those who say Universal Credit is fine in theory live on? It is a systemic failure and cannot work even in theory. The above is how UC is supposed to work says Neil Couling and this is no glitch in implementation or any other excuse this is a deliberate known ploy to stealthily and wrongly pay only 67% of what UC claimants are entitled to by the cunning device of a monthly payment.
Revise UC to a 28 day payment period and the problem is solved (as you can’t have 5 weekly wage payments in 28 days) yet then the Tories have to pay out £100 for every £67 they pay out now with this sneaky bastard and known device of monthly UC payments.
Oh let’s reduce the first payment waiting time is what all and sundry are now focusing upon when what they should be shouting from the rooftops is the systemic and deliberate under payment by stealth that the Tories UC gives to weekly paid workers.