Universal Credit currently offers important support to individuals and families who are out of work or on a low income. While the payment is overseen by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), it is action recently taken by HM Revenue and Customs which may concern some. The Revenue is cutting payments for some 50,000 households in receipt of Universal Credit a week, due to overpayments which may date back years.
A certain level of concern has been expressed about the payment changes, due to the difficulties some in receipt of Universal Credit are already facing.
While the Government took the decision to continue its temporary £20 uplift to Universal Credit, this is due to end within the coming months.
As a result, many claimants will see the sum they usually receive slightly decrease, and will have to adjust to receiving a different amount.
Alistair Cromwell, Acting Chief Executive at Citizens Advice, commented on the issue.
The Government has laid out its process for those who have received overpayments of tax credits and who are now in receipt of Universal Credit.
Its website explains: “After you start getting Universal Credit, you’ll get a letter from HMRC telling you how much you owe.
“The letter is called a TC1131 UC. After you get the letter, the DWP will reduce your Universal Credit payments until you pay back the money you owe. You do not have to do anything to set this up.”
A Government spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We carefully balance our duty to the taxpayer to recover overpayments with our support for claimants. Safeguards are in place to ensure deductions are manageable, and this month we further reduced the cap on deductions from Universal Credit awards.
“As part of the response to Covid-19, DWP paused tax credit debt recovery for three months from April 2020 which resulted in many claimants seeing an increase in the amount they received while allowing staff to prioritise processing the unprecedented number of new benefits claims.
“Customers can contact DWP if they are experiencing financial hardship in order to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, or a temporary suspension, depending on financial circumstances.”