Universal Credit: Personal Case Study Questions

| posted in: Universal Credit | 113 Comments


Policy in Practice have had many enquiries from people about how Universal Credit will affect them.

This post is here to collect case studies of Universal Credit – your stories and questions. We want to create a forum for people to discuss their issues and develop a resource for people to find guidance on welfare reform.

We cannot provide advice on a case-by-case basis, but will help to clarify the regulations.  If you are concerned about how you will be affected by any of the welfare changes, it is best to also contact your Local Authority and/or Job Centre as they will be able to comment on your specific circumstances.

Before posting, please first read the FAQ to make sure that your question has not been answered there.  You can also search this page (Ctrl+f) to see if your question has already been answered.

113 Responses

  1. TEMPORARY WORK. After claiming UC for 10 months, I can confirm that it is making me significantly worse off than JSA. I believe that this is part of the design for UC and not an unintentional mistake. If I don’t work for a UC month, I get the same money as JSA, however as soon as I start working the disadvantages become clear. I am single with no housing element, so entitled to £317 per month. As an electrician I may earn around £500 per week, but most jobs are temporary agency jobs. Consider the following; I receive one weeks money in a month, calculate UC – 500*0.63=315. My UC is reduced to £2 for the month! On JSA I would have been paid for the other three weeks, say 73*3=219. I am instantly around £200 per month worse off on UC than JSA! On JSA over a four week period I would get 200+500=700. On UC 500+2=502. If I worked for two weeks in a month I would get £0 on UC, but get two weeks JSA at say 73*2=146. So total income working two weeks in a month £1000 for UC and £1146 for JSA. BUT this is where it gets really bad. IF you only get two weeks work in two months AND get paid a week of it each in each UC assessment period, then the following happens; On UC- two weeks wages £1000+ two months UC £2 = £1004. On JSA £1000 in wages + 6 weeks at £73= £438, £1438 in total. So in this worst case UC swindles me out of at least six weeks JSA. The figures are even worse than the ones I suggest as I have used three weeks for JSA for simplicity’s sake instead of calculating the true calendar month totals. JSA was paid at weekends, in fact if you worked Mon to Fri for one week in a month, you only lost five days money at around £10 per day! In conclusion I contend that UC is a money saving exercise which penalises those who go to work. The monthly calculation is a clever way of not paying out at all or at best at a reduced rate. JSA was far superior – you lost £10 per each day worked, it paid out almost immediately on ceasing work and it was simple. The above comments apply to anyone who gets the housing element as well, anyone who takes temporary short term on off work is severely penalised by UC.

    • Jethro Martin

      Hi Simon,

      Thank you for your comment.

      It is true that Universal Credit works in this way and that, for someone in your position, the old system would have provided you with more support. Many organisation argue that UC is underfunded; this is a prominent criticism of the new system.

      You may be able to apply for a ‘budgeting advance’ if you are struggling – you can find more information on that here.

      If there is anything else we can do to help please post here.

  2. hi all i am 35, i work 18 hours per week, am looking to rent a property i did check the turn2us calculator and the result shows that i am entitled to £170 HB and £239 UC per week, in total..£1750 per month plus £650 wages.
    the rent is about £1100 per month.. does it sound right? or am i dreaming?

    • Jethro Martin

      Hi Madsen,

      Thanks for your question.

      Universal Credit (UC) is currently being rolled out in certain areas of the UK and will replace many benefits including Housing Benefit – so you won’t receive both Universal Credit and Housing Benefit at the same time (for more details see here). Having said that there is a housing element to UC, is that what you’re referring to? Unfortunately without more details of your circumstances I can’t tell you how much you are entitled to, however you can use our free Policy in Practice Universal Credit Calculator here.

      If there is any more we can do to help, please post here.

  3. This is my first time claiming universal credit,I’m 34,but had started a joint claim in september for childcare costs as my then partner and I work but I pay her nursery fees (my little lady is 14 months) and I only work 18 hours. Unfortunately it’s been a headache from the start although the staff (roughly ten phone calls lasting half an hour plus six job centre interviews) have been fantastic and very helpful it’s just not getting us any further. Then unfortunately my partner and I split up (amicably) so I have changed my circumstances but I’m worried it will take a long time and I have bills ect to pay. I have an interview next week but he moves out a week later?? I will still be working/paying for childcare so the only thing that will be different is losing my ex partners wage. Feeling a bit nervous as I don’t want to get into debt so any advice would be appreciated,many thanks.

    • Jethro Martin

      Hi Hayley,

      Thanks for your question.

      You will likely be entitled to certain elements of Universal Credit, though without knowing more about your circumstances I’m afraid I can’t tell you how much you’ll receive. The amount you will get depends on your circumstances and income – you will receive an extra amount as you have a child and you may receive help with your housing costs. You can use our free Policy in Practice Universal Credit Calculator here, which will tell you what you are entitled to.

      If there is any more we can do to help, please post here.

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