There have been a handful of news stories around Universal Credit recently:

Two child limit

The two-child limit on benefits is pushing families further into poverty, according to the first detailed study of the measure. Affected families report cutting back on food, medication, heating and clothing as a result of the policy, which pays benefits only for the first two children in the household, not any subsequent children.

Women are considering terminating subsequent unplanned pregnancies, to avoid having a third child. It is also reported that in households where there is domestic abuse, the cap is creating an environment where it is necessary to remain, rather than fleeing to safety.

You can read the full report on the Child Poverty Action Group website, and read a report about it in the Guardian.


Terminally ill, but not terminally enough?

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Terminal Illness has heavily criticised the divisive “six months to live rule” that prevents potentially thousands of sick and dying people accessing fast-track benefits. The six-month rule, introduced into law 30 years ago, means terminally ill people expected to live longer than half a year are missing out on being able to have their benefits fast-tracked under a “special rules” system for terminal illness.

However, the committee found that the current rule is “outdated, arbitrary and not based on clinical reality”.

Patients are having to spend their own money to access the care they need, or are living in poverty due to not being able to work but not being able to claim benefits either.

You can read an article about it in the Huffington Post.


Universal Credits scam

There is a scam being perpetrated on people, who believe that they are signing up for emergency grants or payments from Jobcentre Plus, but whose details are being stolen and used to set up fraudulent UC accounts with advance payments – for which the person is then liable – and a large chunck of the money is taken in ‘payment’ by the fraudster.

The BBC explains:

How does the scam work?

  • The fraudster contacts the claimant and says they can get them a government grant or a payday loan.
  • The claimant hands over their details and the fraudster makes a universal credit application on their behalf, sometimes unbeknown to the claimant.
  • The DWP approves the claim and transfers the money into the claimant’s bank account, whereupon the fraudster demands a hefty “fee”.
  • The scammer takes a large chunk of the cash, and disappears.
  • But because the money is a loan, the claimant is then left owing the entire amount to the DWP.

You can read more on the BBC website.