Universal credit to be paid monthly
Benefits are set to be paid to claimants on a monthly basis with the introduction of Universal Credit.
The Department for Work and Pensions announced today that a number of benefits, including housing benefit, will be paid out once-a-month to help people prepare for the working environment.
The DWP said that the move would bring claimants in line with 75 per cent of the working population who are paid monthly.
It is hoped the change will help claimants get used to managing their money and bills over a four week basis, to smooth the transition into work.
The Chartered Institute of Housing said the change should not affect housing providers adversely and that it hope to work with the government on proposals to not have direct payment of benefits to all tenants.
Abigail Davies, assistant director of policy and practice at the CIH, said: ‘We think we will be able to work with the government to work out a system to enable different people to be treated in different ways. What we are looking for is the understanding of what the risks are.’
Ms Davies said that monthly payments of benefits could be a dangerous thing for more vulnerable tenants who would end up in much worse situation if they were in a month’s arrears instead of a week. She said that the situation could be made worse with payments expected to go directly to tenants.
‘We need to be able to identify those groups up front and make sure they don’t get direct payments,’ she said.
‘You know as a housing manager who the people are of greater risk. For example a young person who has never had a tenancy before is going to be high risk.
‘You might say in the tenancy agreement that there is no direct payment for a year, after which it will be reviewed.’
The CIH said that the change to monthly payments meant there were more risks to spot and more planning needed for the sector and said it was already working with providers and the government.