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To think that you can't call this a 'pathfinder' for Universal Credit?

(10 Posts)
lougle Fri 12-Apr-13 22:17:18

Universal Credit is going to be trialled in 1 area this month onwards. It was going to be 4, but now they've decided that they're going to trial just one area initially.

The criteria for being able to take part in the pathfinder is, according to wiki (terrible source, I know, but everything keeps changing so much that everything on the site, etc., is out of date) is:

"-live in a specified postcode area but not be homeless, in supported or temporary accommodation or a homeowner
-be single, with no dependent children, a British citizen and aged between 18 years and 60 years and 6 months
-be fit for work
-not have a claim to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) that ended in the last two weeks, except where ESA ended due to a decision that you no longer have limited capability for work
-not be pregnant or be within 15 weeks after the expected date of birth; -not be receiving existing benefits (including Housing Benefit) or Tax Credits or awaiting a decision on, or be appealing against, a decision not to award any of those
-not be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
-have expected take home pay no higher than £270 per month (under 25s) or £330 per month (25 or over) and not have savings in excess of £6,000
-not have any caring responsibilities
-not be self-employed, in education or have to rely on an appointee; and -have a valid bank account and National Insurance Number.

The findings from the Pathfinder will be used to make changes (where necessary) to ensure the new service is robust and reliable when Universal Credit goes live nationally in October 2013. From October 2013, Universal Credit will start to take new claims from unemployed people, building up capacity to April 2014, when all new claims to the current benefits and credits will be entirely phased out. The remainder of current claims will be moved to Universal Credit from 2014, with the process being complete by 2017. The majority of claims will be made online rather than by telephone or face to face"

£330 per month equates to £76 per week. That's 12 hours at National Minimum Wage.

So, the criteria is, that you must be fit to work, but anticipating working under 12 hours per week in a minimum wage job. hmm

AIBU to think that this is a convenient way to herald UC a resounding success, as you've removed all the genuinely able and expecting to work population?

Meglet Fri 12-Apr-13 22:22:42

yanbu. It would be like me climbing a couple of flights of stairs and saying I was ready to climb Everest hmm.

AuntieStella Fri 12-Apr-13 22:29:25

The sources that Wiki attributes to that paragraph do not actually contain that information about eligibility.

And I can't find it on google. Do any MNetters have any good authoritative links? For it's possible this is a garble, as it does not seem to fit information published elsewhere.

lougle Fri 12-Apr-13 22:46:57

Ok, found it:

Department of Work and Pensions link to information posted above

lougle Sat 13-Apr-13 13:37:50

Anyone got a view now that the source is verified?

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 13-Apr-13 14:01:22

Its just a way of saying it works without actually testing it.

AuntieStella Sat 13-Apr-13 14:37:36

Thanks for the link.

They don't seem to have said anywhere why they've set these criteria. There is a fair bit of info though about the pathway they are testing, so perhaps they're being prudent in using a very limited set of new claimants for the first trial. For given the history of omnishambles, it does eem to make sense to test a narrow (and straightforward?) set of claims, before next steps in roll out. Has there been any word on how the trial will be assessed and when next stages of rollout might be expected?

They might even discover (and remove) unintended glitches as they go along, (which would be a pleasant change) rather an mucking up the family finances of thousands of households.

I don't know enough about the underpinnings to know if there could/should have been a different set of criteria? OP - as you think these are wrong, what do you think it should have been?

YoniMcShoni Sat 13-Apr-13 15:52:51

It is a very limited set of circumstances for new claims but perhaps that is just as well rather than mess about with complicated claims and never understand just why the program fails.

I think anything that gets this sort of person off his backside will be welcome.

** caution -do not watch this video(Jeremy Kyle) if you have high blood pressure.

lougle Sat 13-Apr-13 16:29:23

I think it is flawed to think that you can trial a system that will affect millions of people, non-working and working, with complicated circumstances, by saying:

"We are testing the system on people who are newly unemployed with no complications whatsoever, who actually don't expect to work for more than 12 hours per week. We will then use the data from this, to decide if it's working, and roll it out to err...everyone who qualifies from October 2013."

It's madness. If the system is ready, then surely they can cope with any new claims in that defined area. You'd think they'd have a prototype online mechanism to trial, also, but instead the claims are going to be manually calculated using a spreadsheet.

In effect, although claims are going to be made 'online', they aren't even going to be processed by an online system.

The marginal rate of taxation is going to be almost exactly the same as that of the current system, also. So it isn't realistic to say that it will incentivise benefit claimants to work more.

Additionally, the threshold disregard of earnings is drastically lower if you claim the housing component than if you don't, so those people who live in rented accomodation and are on a low income will be much worse off.

JsOtherHalf Sat 13-Apr-13 17:47:07

Interactive austerity map taking account of new benefits impact:

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