Universal credit cracks prevent vulnerable people from getting help, charity says
According to one charity, about 1.3 million people with high levels of mental distress receive or apply for universal credit.
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, which was founded by consumer champion Martin Lewis, released the figure calling for urgent action to correct “design flaws” in the universal credit system.
He warned that hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people may find it difficult to get help managing their Universal Credit accounts effectively.
The charity said that without support, many people with common symptoms of mental health issues, such as difficulty understanding complex information and remembering appointments, struggle with the administrator. required to receive payments.
People risk being penalized or cut off from payments, causing unnecessary angst for claimants and their caregivers, the charity said.
In a survey of over 230 people with mental health issues who applied for universal credit, more than half (57%) needed help from family or friends to manage their credit account universal.
Just over a quarter (27%) always or often needed help, but only one in 10 (10%) had been successful in giving permission for someone to help regularly.
According to Money and Mental Health, to name a loved one as regular help, applicants must provide details of any tasks they might need help with and every piece of information they want to share.
His “set up to fail” campaign calls for a simplification of the universal credit application process, with clearer advice on what information people need to provide to gain support from a loved one.
He said people should have more flexible options for sharing their Universal Credit account information with loved ones.
Research by the charity found that more than half (54%) of UK adults who had mental health issues reported having severe difficulties using the phone, often leading to panic attacks, palpitations heart problems and increasing anxiety.
Gary, who was involved with the charity’s research, said: “Last year I was fired after being in a company for over 23 years, and all the stress and worry comes from to surface.
“I found the process of universal credit management just awful and difficult to follow, nothing is ever explained to you. At the moment, I find it difficult to deal with people because it is difficult to talk.
Mr Lewis, president of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said: “It looks like a scene from a parody. People who are entitled to universal credit, sometimes due to mental health issues that impact their ability to fill out forms or process complex information, are allowed to nominate someone to help them with the administrator necessary to continue to receive benefits.
“Yet in order to do that, they have to go through a complex process that requires them to do exactly the things they need help with in the first place. If they do not manage it, they risk ultimately being sanctioned or losing all financial assistance.
“I don’t think this is a deliberate attempt to set people up for failure. Yet this is the practical result for some. It is a universal credit problem that the government can easily resolve, by providing people with the right advice on how to nominate a loved one to help them, and by making the process much easier, simpler, and more user-friendly. “
Mr Lewis added that with more and more people likely to switch to universal credit when the leave program ends in September, “there is no time to waste.”
Money and Mental Health’s Set Up to Fail campaign has been supported by organizations such as Mind, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Turn 2 Us, Money Charity and Advice UK.