THE UK Government has pledged to look into solutions to a nine-week wait between benefit and state pension payments thanks to an MP’s campaign.

Mark Tami, MP for Alyn and Deeside, began his campaign at the beginning of February by tabling an Early Day Motion (EDM) in parliament.

The EDM calls on the Government to ensure that universal credit is payable up to the day before the state pension is paid, regardless of whether pension credit is subsequently payable.

It was tabled after Citizens Advice Flintshire asked the MP to help people who face delays between their Universal Credit (UC) ending and their state pension payments starting.

Now the EDM has been signed by more than 50 members of parliament and the campaign has been picked up by national newspaper i.

Mark Tami said: “I’m pleased that the DWP have said they will look into a solution, but I will keep campaigning to ensure that it really happens.

“Many of my older constituents and their peers across the UK are facing hardship because of the long wait between their last Universal Credit award and their first state pension payment.

“This unnecessary situation is causing people to try and get by for over two months without any money to live on. People are falling into rent arrears because of this, and struggling to eat and heat their homes.

“This could all be solved by a simple, small change to the regulations.”

The Alyn and Deeside MP wants the Government to extend the rules on pro-rata UC payments for people transitioning to Pension Credit to also apply to people transitioning to State Pension without Pension Credit

Currently a claimant whose Universal Credit is ending because they are reaching state pension age, and who will be eligible for Pension Credit (PC), has their last UC assessment period and award paid on a pro-rata basis. That means if there are 20 days in a 30-day month between their last payday and their first day of state pension, they will only receive two thirds of their monthly UC award.

If a claimant is reaching state pension age but won’t be eligible for PC, the last UC award is not payable. For people whose state pension day falls at the end of their UC assessment period, that means 30 days without any income payable.

After that up to 30-day period before state pension day, the claimant will then have to wait five weeks for their first payment of state pension. That can be a wait of up to nine weeks without money, at the end of which only four weeks’ worth of money will actually be payable.

In the i article, Age UK told Serina Sandhu that the charity had been contacted by older people over problems moving from Universal Credit to state pension because of the current rules and the way that the systems are administered. They called on the Government to ensure a smooth transition from Universal Credit when people reach state pension age that doesn’t leave anyone facing financial hardship due to gaps in payment.

The National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers (NAWRA) also backed the campaign, saying they completely supported the EDM.

Mr Tami added: “I’m delighted that this campaign has received national press coverage and won the backing of Age UK and NAWRA.

“This just goes to show how important a national issue this is, and I will keep campaigning until this punitive situation is fixed.”