Universal credit rollout delayed until 2024
The full rollout of universal credit has been delayed again, meaning the system will not be fully live until September 2024, the BBC reports.
Professor Lisa Scullion from the Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) at the University of Salford explains why it is vital the government considers the support being provided to veterans during this period of significant welfare reform.
Lisa said: “The last decade has seen unprecedented welfare reform in the UK. At the same time we have seen an increasing focus on supporting UK veterans, with the Armed Forces Covenant, the first-ever Strategy for our Veterans and the UK’s Office for Veterans’ Affairs. However, there has been no focus on bringing these two issues together. Why does this matter? Because while it is quite right to emphasise veterans’ health, employment, training, homelessness, we overlook that some of those veterans who experience the most complex needs will draw upon the support of our benefits system during their transition to civilian life.”
Lisa’s research – funded by the Forces in Mind Trust – focuses specifically on the experiences of veterans accessing the benefits system, through 120 in-depth interviews with veterans and their families.
Lisa said: “Over the course of our research, some of our participants had moved from legacy benefits to universal credit. All had found this move problematic, reiterating widely acknowledged issues around the waiting period for the first payment, reductions in benefit entitlements and difficulties with the ‘digital by default’ system.
“With this announcement of further delay in the migration to universal credit, the government must use the additional time to ensure that the benefits system is appropriately supporting those who have served in our Armed Forces. More importantly - to honour the commitments being made by government to UK veterans - there is a need to ensure that the benefits system features just as much in the discussions about supporting our veterans as any other aspects of the welfare state.”
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