In the UK, Universal Credit is the name given to a system of entitlements and benefits affecting relief for the poor, the unemployed, the impoverished, all of which were once assigned to six separate entities. The resulting attempt at streamlining costs, as well as consolidating and simplifying services, has come under fire in Britain for any number of reasons. Both the old programs, and Universal Credit, all come under the Department of Wages and Pensions (DWP).
The Old Programs
- Job Seeker's Allowance: this benefit granted entitlement for an allowance of cash for job-seekers, and was formed as a part of the social security program in the UK.
- Housing Benefit: this was an allowance of cash provided on a needs based eligibility, which means the amount of cash could vary, depending upon the applicant's needs.
- Working Tax Credit: not a rebate, this is a low-income needs-based entitlement which is meant to supplement the income of working people.
- Child Tax Credit: similar to the Working Tax Credit, eligibility for the Child Tax Credit may be part and parcel to those eligible for the Working Tax Credit, as it applies to those with low incomes responsible for one or more children.
- Employment Support Allowance: Illness and/or disability were handled under this the ESA. It was granted with an emphasis on employment rehabilitation for worker retraining.
- Income Support: a wide base of entitlements came under Income Support, which also determined eligibility for Housing Benefit, and Child Tax Allowance, among others. This was a program which functioned in very general catch-all type categories, and is likely the area most impacted by Universal Credit.
Lord David Freud
Iain Duncan Smith
Nowadays in Britain, the consolidation of qualifying circumstances for one to seek assistance from the government simply lumps everyone together, and handles the unique needs of injured workers right alongside those seeking assistance due to their status as retirees. The Universal Credit program does more than this: it lumps no less than six formerly independent offices of public assistance into one, giant, jumbled, confused, and in some reports, ineffective system.
The relief which individuals seek, as well as the relief sought by families, as well as the job-seeking younger people and the older ones, as well, have been sacrificed in this generation like sheep, while they work their ways through a perfunctory and an unproven system. They have become the guinea pigs, the first and originally wounded, the forced participants bound to discover the bugs, and either work them out, or far worse, they will find out that the bugs within this new system can never hope to be worked out.
All for a system which was promised to be better, cheaper, which meant a more efficient system, and overall, a system of greater effectiveness. But the year which has passed since the program began to be implemented has been wrought with increasing hardships, incredulity, and in the end, some analysts have concluded that Universal Credit has already proven to be far more expensive than the program the British people were originally sold.
The Change Has Come....Right?
But one thing that nobody wants is a new system.