Recent findings from the Resolution Foundation reveal that the ongoing rollout of Universal Credit (UC) will lead to significant financial challenges for disabled individuals unable to work.

According to a comprehensive analysis, a single person with long-term disabilities preventing them from working will face an annual loss of £2,800 due to changes in the UC system. This adjustment is part of the government’s broader effort to consolidate multiple benefits into a single system, originally initiated in 2013.

The foundation’s report indicates that by the end of the next parliamentary session, over 7 million people will transition to this integrated benefit framework, with substantial implications for working-age disabled individuals.

Alex Clegg, an economist at the Resolution Foundation, emphasised the urgency for adaptations in UC to address the current demographic shifts:

Compared to the old system, Universal Credit offers greater support for renters and stronger incentives to enter work. However, its original design did not anticipate there being over two million claimants with poor health or disabilities.

Alex Clegg, economist at the Resolution Foundation

While UC aims to simplify the benefits system and encourage employment, the specific needs of those off work due to long-term illnesses seem underrepresented in the policy design. The government’s latest adjustments to UC, intended to integrate individuals with ill health into the workforce, have sparked discussions on the adequacy of the support for those unable to work due to health conditions.

In response, a Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson defended the UC system, highlighting its role in aiding millions towards employment.

Universal Credit has proven itself as a modern benefits system fit for the future, providing a vital safety net to millions while helping people move into work faster.

Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson

The ongoing developments in Universal Credit, including a 6.7% increase in benefits earlier this month, signify the government’s response to the evolving economic landscape post-pandemic. However, the financial disparity for disabled individuals underscores the need for a nuanced approach to welfare that considers all segments of the population, particularly those hindered by long-term illnesses from participating in the workforce.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.