If you want to see reasoned, balanced and constructive discussions around Universal Credit, do watch the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee hearing held last Wednesday (13th September 2017). My thanks to Peter Freeman for drawing my attention to this link.
One very interesting point related to the six to eight week delay before a claimant gets their first payment. The Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) says part of the rationale for Universal Credit is to prepare claimants for the reality of work so that they are ready to live on a budget. It was noted that no one starting work would expect to wait for six to eight weeks before being paid for the first time.
There is assistance available in certain circumstances, but a lack of information from the DWP means that few people know about advance payments. According to Citizens Advice, only 41% of their clients knew about advance payments.
I tried to find information about advance payments on the DWP website. I gave up. Fortunately, Citizens Advice has helpful information on its website regarding advance payments.
By the way, calls to the Universal Credit helpline number can cost up to 9p a minute from a landline, or between 8p and 40p a minute from a mobile. A claimant can ask the helpline to call them back. But if you have no money and no credit on your phone, how do you make the initial call?