Disabled people in Widnes and Runcorn can be more than £300 a month worse off under Universal Credit
Citizens Advice Halton has said that some disabled people in the area could be around £300 a month worse off under Universal Credit compared to the previous system.
The charity has helped 1,794 people with Universal Credit since it was rolled out in November 2014.
Of these, 889 were disabled or had a long-term health condition.
A report published by national Citizens Advice on Friday – Universal Credit for Single Disabled People – revealed a significant drop in financial support for some single disabled people in a range of circumstances.
This includes losses that can be more than £300 a month for working disabled people because of flaws in the design of the new benefit. The Work Allowance is meant to improve work incentives for disabled people in Universal Credit.
However, in practice, the Work Allowance can only be accessed through the Work Capability Assessment, which gives benefits awards to people unable to work, rather than for disabled people who can work.
This creates the situation where a worker must be assessed as not fit for work to receive targeted in-work support.
Citizens Advice Halton is calling on the government to make changes to the design and the amount of financial support in Universal Credit to make sure disabled people aren’t penalised when they claim the new benefit.
Hitesh Patel, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Halton, said:
“We see the toll that Universal Credit can have on disabled people in Widnes and Runcorn.
They can be hundreds of pounds worse off than under the previous system – even when they do get the support meant for them.
This money is desperately needed to cover key costs including essential bills and stop people falling into serious financial difficulty.
The government must fix Universal Credit and increase the financial support disabled people can receive under the new benefit”
To help cope with the growing demand for benefits advice, Citizens Advice Halton is looking for volunteers to train up to become advisers. For more information you can visit our Volunteering Webpage, ring 0152 257 2449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.