Number of people receiving Universal Credit support in Rochdale reaches 12,000
Date published: 13 September 2019
Universal Credit is available in every jobcentre across the UK
More than 12,000 people in the Rochdale borough are now claiming Universal Credit support, new figures show.
Universal Credit replaces six previous benefits with a single monthly payment to provide support for people who are unemployed, in low-paid work or unable to work due to a disability or health condition.
As of August 2019, 12,594 people in the borough are claiming the new benefit. Of these, 6,537 claimants in the local authority area are not currently in employment, and 3,341 receive Universal Credit in addition to working.
The remainder of claimants are unable to work due to disability or health conditions.
In the North West, more than 327,000 people are now claiming the new benefit.
Controversial from the start, the government admitted for the first time earlier this year that problems with the introduction of the Universal Credit system had driven people to food banks as people were left without money due to payment delays.
The roll-out has been plagued by delays to payments, which have left tens of thousands of vulnerable people in rental arrears and some even dependent on food banks.
A report from Crisis also claimed single people and small families receiving Universal Credit were at increasing risk of homelessness in parts of the north west, including Oldham and Rochdale, because of a persistent shortfall between the benefit and the true cost of renting, leaving them in rental arrears.
The government has now removed the seven-day waiting period, meaning nobody has to wait to make a claim and people can continue to receive Housing Benefit for two weeks while they wait for the first payment.
People can also speak to Citizens Advice, who offer a free ‘help to claim’ service for Universal Credit, funded by the department.
Anyone who thinks they may be eligible for Universal Credit, which is now available in every jobcentre across the UK, can check online.
Up to 100% advance payments are available for claimants and budgeting support is available for anyone who needs extra help.
With the benefit now available in all jobcentres, the number of people on the benefit will continue to rise; this does not necessarily signify an increase in unemployment for the area.
For more information about Universal Credit, please visit:
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