Disabled ‘worse off’
DISABLED people in Halton can be more than £300 a month worse off under Universal Credit.
Citizens Advice Halton has said that some disabled people in Widnes and Runcorn could be around £300 a month worse off compared to the previous system.
The charity has helped 1,794 people with Universal Credit since it was rolled out in November 2014.
Of these, 889 were disabled or had a long-term health condition.
A report published by National Citizens Advice on Friday revealed a significant drop in financial support for some single disabled people in a range of circumstances.
The Work Allowance is meant to improve work incentives for disabled people in Universal Credit. However, in practice, the Work Allowance can only be accessed through the Work Capability Assessment, which gives benefits awards to people unable to work, rather than for disabled people who can work.
This creates the situation where a worker must be assessed as not fit for work to receive targeted in-work support.
Citizens Advice Halton is calling on the Government to make changes to the design and the amount of financial support in Universal Credit to make sure disabled people are not penalised when they claim the new benefit.
Hitesh Patel, chief executive of Citizens Advice Halton, said: “We see the toll that Universal Credit can have on disabled people in Widnes and Runcorn.
“They can be hundreds of pounds worse off than under the previous system – even when they do get the support meant for them. This money is desperately needed to cover key costs including essential bills and stop people falling into serious financial difficulty.
“The Government must fix Universal Credit and increase the financial support disabled people can receive under the new benefit”