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Universal Credit: Monthly Assessment Period

Volume 670: debated on Monday 27 January 2020

13. What steps her Department is taking to ensure that the monthly assessment period for universal credit is able to reflect a claimant's fluctuating income. (900406)

Monthly assessment periods align to the way the majority of employees are paid and also allow UC to be adjusted each month. They scrap the cliff edges that blighted the legacy benefits system and mean that if a claimant’s income falls, they will not have to wait several months for a rise in their UC.

Salary payments that do not align with assessment periods have caused real problems for my constituents, not only in respect of the actual money that they receive but in respect of cash flow. Why will the Government not follow the recommendation of Unison and the Child Poverty Action Group and allow people to adjust the dates of their assessment period when they are paid very close to the end of the month?

As I have already said in answer to two other colleagues, the amount of universal credit paid to claimants reflects as closely as possible the actual circumstances of a household during each monthly assessment period, so over the course of a year it levels out and people do not lose out. I appreciate, though, that there is a budgeting issue, and I am keen to find a solution.