Potential benefits delay could prove catastrophic, says Armstrong, without necessary investment

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has warned that without further investment in the Department for Communities, people being processed through ‘Move to UC’ could potentially face up to 8 weeks without benefits.

Communities Kellie Armstrong

This comes following concerns raised by advisors and benefit claimants themselves about how many would struggle to cope financially if payments were delayed during the migration of legacy benefit claimants onto Universal Credit.
“This is greatly concerning and something which, if not addressed, stands to impact some of the most vulnerable in our society who, frankly, could do without the worry and stress it is already causing,” said Ms Armstrong.
“Treasury provides extra investment into Westminster’s Department for Work and Pensions to manage the number of people moving from legacy benefits to UC. However, no such allowance is provided for Northern Ireland.
“Unless the Department for Communities receives an allocation of funds for more staff to be employed, to manage Move to UC, there simply won’t be enough people to process applications. It has been highlighted to all parties that without investment, the normal 5 week wait could extend to 6, 7 or even 8 weeks.
“For those who are already struggling to cope with the cost of living crisis, two months without benefits could prove catastrophic and we must not allow it to happen.
“It’s unconscionable that the DUP is continuing to block the restoration of the institutions and prevent ministerial direction being given. I would urge them to re-consider their priorities, end their boycott, and get back to work so this, and other vital issues, can be looked into.”