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Rebalancing universal credit: Making it work for disabled people

11 September 2014

This report focuses on support for disabled people under universal credit. Whilst we support the principles of universal credit, our analysis shows two important types of problems that will particularly affect disabled people; one relating to work incentives, the other concerning out of work support:

Work Incentives

An extra shift at work should mean more money in your pocket. Under universal credit single people without children and relatively higher earners will generally gain for each hour of work. Couples where one person is in work and the other is seriously ill or disabled will also see much better incentives to work than in the current system. However our analysis shows that under universal credit:

  • Many disabled people will find that though they face extra costs when working, they are not able to access extra financial support.
  • Others will find it is beneficial for them to reduce their hours of work to access the extra financial support they need.
  • Disabled working parents will lose money by working extra hours because of increased costs to work and the loss of free school meals. Our report Pop goes the Payslip describes this in more detail.

Out of work support

Under universal credit, whilst most out of work support remains the same, there are a few changes which are likely to cause significant problems for disabled people:

  • There is a very significant reduction in the financial support for seriously ill or disabled people who live on their own or just with dependent children and don’t have a carer.
  • Those who have income such as an occupational pension will be no better off as a result of having previously worked.

Rebalancing universal credit: Making it work for disabled people- Full report [ 3.3 mb]