Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of removing the five-week wait for claimants to receive their first universal credit payment during the covid-19 outbreak.
New Claims Advances are available to support those in immediate financial need until their first Universal Credit payment is made and the Department is committed to delivering advances as soon as possible to people who have requested them.
The Universal Credit assessment period and payment structure are fundamental parts of the design and the current advance system works, and works quickly.
It is not possible to award a Universal Credit payment as soon as a claim is made, as the assessment period must run its course before the award of Universal Credit can be calculated. In order to allow the Universal Credit system to cope with the unprecedented demand, we must limit the changes made to its framework.