CIH Scotland: Universal Credit could improve benefit take up
Universal Credit could potentially improve the take up of help with housing costs for working age claimants, according to CIH Scotland.
According to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) statistics, the take up rate of housing benefit is around 80% by caseload.
In its evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s social security committee, CIH Scotland has suggested that the current levels of take up for reserved and devolved benefits could be improved by eliminating the termination of awards when claimants move in and out of work and removing complex qualifying criteria relating to age, parental status and hours worked which currently apply to tax credits.
However, the CIH submission also identifies the potential for significant numbers of people to miss out on benefits they are entitled to during the move to Universal Credit because of lack of awareness about eligibility.
Ashley Campbell, policy and practice manager at CIH Scotland, said: “We are really pleased that the Committee has chosen to investigate the issue of benefit take up. Ensuring that people who are entitled to support receive what they are due can help to reduce poverty and inequality and make sure people are able to cover the cost of their everyday needs.
“Social landlords already have a strong track record of supporting people through advice and income maximisation services.
“The Scottish Government can use some of this learning along with sophisticated targeting to communicate with households who may be entitled to claim Universal Credit but are unaware.”