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Those who become unexpectedly unemployed may now need to wait up to five weeks before they can receive their benefit, a new report says.
Thanks to the new plans for the Government’s welfare reforms, including the introduction to Universal Credit, those who suddenly lose their jobs without warning may not eligible for financial help for up to a week.
Following that, the newly unemployed will then have to wait a further four weeks for their claim to be processed and verified, leaving them without any social security benefits to fall back on in the meantime. This would include all benefits such as housing benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance and the Budgeting Loan.
The new rules, if implemented, could leave thousands of employed people at risk of poverty if they were to lose their jobs suddenly and through no fault of their own. The plan has been openly condemned by the British Trades Union Congress (TUC), which said it was merely a “new and deliberate delay” on part of the Government to discourage new claimants from signing on for help.
General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:[quote]While it is right to deal with people who abuse the system, the Government is now undermining the welfare safety net that any of might need at any time.
Making people who have contributed all their lives – but are simply unlucky enough to lose their jobs – wait five weeks before receiving any help is both cruel and vindictive.”[/quote]
The TUC claims that the policy could distract the newly unemployed from looking for work by forcing them to worry about money.[quote]People who lose their jobs need to be concentrating on looking for a new one, not worrying about whether they have enough money to pay the mortgage, keep up with their rent or feed their children,”[/quote]
Mr. O’ Grady said.
The Universal Credit scheme has been the subject of much controversy ever since its inception, as its finalisation and trials continue to throw up issues with regards to funding and integration into the UK’s current welfare system. According to O’Grady, the policy is “in the intensive care unit”.[quote]The five week is yet another ill-though out idea that should be enough to send the whole policy back to the drawing board.”[/quote]
The TUC has launched a campaign against many of the Government’s other welfare reforms up to now, and a poll of more than 1600 adults showed that the majority are opposed to a five-week wait for benefits.