Good morning

After a 6-8 week period of near chaos in the Social Security system, with a 70% increase in the number of receipients, £1.8M new claims, 700,000 Advance Payment requests, 10,000 DWP staff redeployed to the frontline, things look as if they’re finally calming down enough for a catch-up!

I’ve pulled together a number of recent publications and events, which, hopefully, you’ll find helpful.

  1. DWP recently published its most up-to-date Social Security ratesfor 2020/21 including the additional measures, introduced as a result of COVID 19.
  2. DWP Statistics on Universal Credit claims and awards which includes some interactive tools which highlight the number of claims at post code levels. Very helpful information when you’re shaping your plans and strategy for the future.
  3. The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) recently wrote to the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, acknowledging the success of DWP’s response to the COVID crisis and reminding her of SSAC@s concerns over:
    1. The failure of DWP to pay most “legacy benefit” recipients the same Standard Allowances as those receiving Universal Credit; and
    2. Concerns over the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) and its impact on those many vulnerable “young people” affected by COVID 19 who are homeless; and
    3. The failure to raise the Benefits Cap and the limitations this places on families directly affected.
    4. The Managed Migration pilot which has been an abject failure from the word go, has been suspended, but DWP seems confident they’ll be able to maintain the target of completing the Managed Migration stage of Universal Credit, including another 3 million additional cases, at least by late 2024. Unless DWP embarks on a major recruitment drive and take the time to properly train staff to cope with the seizable increase in workload, I can see nothing but further problems looming. Mr Couling and Ministers seem to be putting their faith into further automation of the processes, rather than engaging an appropriate level of suitably knowledgeable staff.

Although I’m working from home, I can still be contacted via email and phone and am available for consultation via Zoom or Microsoft teams etc.

Bill Irvine

UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd