Fact check: Is universal credit being paid on time?

Jeremy Corbyn has made great play of the government's problems on universal credit

Universal credit has been a thorn in the side of Theresa May

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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Claim: "At the beginning of this year only 55% of people were getting their first payment on time now that is over 80%.”

Theresa May, 11 October 2017

Analysis: This is right, although she’s only talking about the group of people claiming the newest ‘full service’ rollout of Universal Credit. The portion of claimants getting their payment on time has still improved across the board.

The share of people making new claims through the Universal Credit full service who received their full payment on time increased from 54% in the first week of January to an estimated 81% in the second week of September.

On time means one calendar month and seven days after the claim starts. If a person is required to look for work (or better paid work) they have to wait an extra seven days between making a claim and the claim starting. So, overall, the waiting time is supposed to be five to six weeks.

Full service means the person is living in a job centre area which is set up to let anyone claim the new benefit (rather than only people who meet certain conditions). This isn’t the case everywhere because the new payment is still being rolled out across the country. The alternative is called live service.

If we look at Universal Credit payments overall (full service plus live service) the change is smaller, 65% in January and 76% for the latest figures from June.

Conclusion: Correct, for areas where universal credit is fully available. For all universal credit claims the figures were 65% in January and 76% in June.