SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has called on the Minister for Communities to address the serious systemic failures affecting Universal Credit claimants as identified by Advice NI.
Mr McGlone said, “Problems with Universal Credit continue to mount up and remain one of the most frequent issues raised by my constituents.
“The serious systemic failures affecting Universal Credit claimants that Advice NI have identified must be addressed as a matter of urgency by the Minister of Communities.
“These most recent failures by the Department could result in claimants losing over £300 that they are entitled to and possibly having their Universal Credit claim unfairly assessed as zero entitlement.
“As Advice NI have pointed out, the information to prevent many of these systemic failures from occurring is already available to Universal Credit staff when the claims are being made. It is unacceptable that vulnerable, sick and disabled people could be losing out on benefits they are entitled to receive because of the failure of the Department to routinely apply a regulation designed to protect their entitlement to that benefit.
“I have asked the Minister to explain why Universal Credit staff have not been instructed to apply this regulation routinely, and what measures the Department will take to remunerate those disadvantaged as a consequence.”
Notes to editors:
Priority AQ to Minister for Communities
To ask the Minister for Communities why Universal Credit staff have not been applying Regulation 25 of the UC, PIP, JSA and ESA (Claims and Payments) Regulations (NI) 2016 to allow Decision Makers to extend the time for claiming Universal Credit and ensure there is no ‘gap’ between the ESA or Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claim and entitlement to Universal Credit and what measures the Department will take to remunerate those disadvantaged as a consequence.