Trade Union Congress Media Release:
Most people who lose their jobs will soon have to wait five weeks before they get any cash help, according to small print in the Universal Credit rules uncovered by the TUC as it launches a new campaign today (Wednesday), Saving Our Safety Net.
Currently most newly unemployed people have to wait two weeks they get their first benefit payment. But under new Universal Credit rules people will not be eligible for any help for a week and must then wait a further month for their benefits to be paid in arrears. This means that, other than the few who receive emergency help, any new claimants will have to wait at least five weeks for any cash.
In a new report (pdf) Universal Credit: the problem of delay in benefit payments published today (Wednesday), the TUC says that this new and deliberate delay to payments means that worries about money are likely to distract new claimants from looking for work, drive them into the hands of payday loan lenders and increase demand on food banks.
The new five-week wait will apply to anyone making a fresh claim for social security benefits, regardless of how long they have held their job or how much they have paid in National Insurance contributions.