The Huffington Post has revealed worrying new figures today showing that 580,000 people could lose out on Universal Credit payments in the next stage of the rollouts – news that MP Margaret Greenwood has called “shocking,” and has said this “should ring alarm bells for this government.”

Data seen by HuffPost has revealed that 29% of claimants who have been moved onto Universal Credit have had their claim closed or not paid, and projections for the next stage of the rollout show that this could leave as many as 580,000 benefits claimants without support.

DWP figures released in July showed that the majority of claimants were not paid due to failures to attend initial interviews, not accepting commitments related to benefit payments, claims being withdrawn, or the claimant’s failure to attend any subsequent interviews.

A spokesperson for the DWP told HuffPost: “Universal Credit (UC) replaces an out-of-date, complex benefits system and the vast majority of Universal Credit claimants are paid in full and on time. There are a number of reasons why someone might close their claim including securing a higher paid job which exceeds the earnings threshold for UC.

“We’re committed to ensuring that all people get the right support that they need. We have recently announced a partnership with Citizens Advice to provide Universal Support, which will help the most vulnerable claimants make and manage their claim.

“Through our ‘test and learn’ approach, we have listened to feedback from stakeholders and claimants and made improvements, including increasing advance payments to 100%, removing the seven-day waiting period and paying people’s Housing Benefit for two weeks while they wait for the first UC payment.”

Image: Flickr/Alexander Edward

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