Five weeks too long
People are being forced to food banks because five weeks is too long to wait for Universal Credit. This isn’t right – the government needs to end the five week wait.
Universal Credit should be fighting poverty, not forcing people to use food banks
We’re a country that prides itself on making sure proper support is in place for each other when help is most needed – our benefits system was created to do exactly this. But Universal Credit isn’t the poverty-fighting reform that was promised.
Five weeks is too long to wait for Universal Credit. We need to end the wait.
More and more people are moving onto Universal Credit. None of them should need a food bank. But from the very start, everyone who applies has to wait at least five weeks for a first payment – some people are left waiting longer. This is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics.
Food banks are picking up the pieces
Rebekah has seen many people referred to her food bank because of the impact the five week wait is having on people. She shared the experience of someone she recently helped:
“We had a single person referred to us that was suffering from health problems and living alone in council accommodation. Their previous disability benefit was suspended, and then they were told they would have to apply for Universal Credit, which they did, but have been left with no income and no money in the bank in the meantime.
This has led to them having no money for food, electricity and having their phone disconnected. They are also now accruing rent arrears, are concerned that further action will be taken and are at risk of becoming homeless. All this is having a negative effect on their mental health and they have had to seek support from their GP.”
No one should have to go through this. The wait for Universal Credit is five weeks too long.
The government knows the five week wait is too long
The government knows some people struggle with the five week wait but the changes they’ve made so far won’t stop people needing a food bank. They need to do more. The best way to make sure no one needs a food bank while waiting for Universal Credit is to end the five week wait.
It doesn't have to be like this
There’s a five week wait because the government designed Universal Credit to work that way. We need to convince them to change it. Here’s how we’ll do that:
Everyone who thinks the government should end the five week wait joins together with food banks, charities, faith and community groups to be part of the #5WeeksTooLong campaign.
We’ll show how damaging the five week wait is, get coverage in the media and take action by emailing, tweeting and meeting politicians of all parties so they know it’s #5WeeksTooLong.
When the time is right, everyone who’s part of #5WeeksTooLong will demand change from those in charge – like when the Chancellor makes big spending decisions for the government.
Find out more about Universal Credit and the five week wait