Single mums are to challenge the government in court over the Universal Credit payment system which is inflexible and doesn’t reflect reality.
The rigid ‘assessment period’ causes wildly fluctuating benefit and debt. Part-time dinner lady Danielle Johnson from Keighley, West Yorkshire, is paid on the last working day of the month. But her monthly UC assessment periods are rigid – running from the last day of each month, meaning that if she is paid before the last day of the month, because payment falls on a weekend or non-banking day, she is assessed as having been paid twice that month, and not at all the next month (so she could be subject to the benefit cap).
Claimants are unable to change their assessment period. Ms Johnson also argues that the system is discriminatory because it disproportionately affects mainly single mothers. Child Poverty Action Group and Leigh Day solicitors have joined together the Women's contingent to mark the UN 16 days of ending violence against women and children as part of protests against Universal Credit.