Women and single mums are hit hardest by Universal Credit – here's why

Although just over half of people on the flagship programme at the moment are female, they are still more likely to be the ones losing out.

Universal Credit rolls six benefits into one, but cuts to the system mean many people are likely to lose cash when they go onto the new system.

Ministers have promised that no one will be worse off immediately as they get migrated, but thousands whose circumstances change and they are forced on to it could lose out.

But generally women are more likely to be out of work and relying on the benefits system, or needing help with their income as they work part-time and take care of kids.

One mum on Universal Credit was forced to go through the bins at work for leftovers, it was revealed today. So, just how are women and mums affected by the changes?

Single parents and work allowances

Single parents who can't get help with their housing costs are likely to be some of the biggest losers on Universal Credit, according to research from the Resolution Foundation.

Even with last month's Budget changes coming in to play, cuts to work allowances made under George Osborne mean that single parents will be an average of £1,940 worse off than in 2015.

And since 90 per cent of single parents are women, it's the mums who are most at risk of losing out.

Single parents who do get help with their housing were set to be worse off, but the most recent changes mean they will actually see a boost from next April after changes to the work allowance.

This means Brits will be able to earn an extra £630 a year without their benefits being reduced.

Two-child cap

Universal Credit includes a child element to help out mums and dads.

If your first child was born before April 2017 you can claim £277 a month, but if they are younger, you can only get £231 a month, per child.

There's no extra help for anyone who has three or more children – unless exceptions apply like having a child as a result of rape.

The IFS thinks 600,000 three-child families will lose around £2,500 a year on average.


Under Universal Credit parents can claim for 85 per cent of their childcare costs to get back – even if they only work a few hours.

That is up to £646 a month for one child of £1,108 for two or more, but it can take weeks to be paid back.

All of it has to be paid upfront and there's no help for women wanting to make the move into work who can't afford the huge upfront fees.

Mums told MPs last month they felt they were being penalised by the system for trying to work.

Domestic violence victims

As Universal Credit it only paid to one person in the household, critics fears it will make domestic violence against women worse.

As many men would receive the payment, it can be harder for the woman to access vital funds, especially to pay for children.

Brits can get their payments split into two bank accounts – the DWP should be able to help with this – but abusive partners may be unwilling to do this.

Young penalised

Lone parents under the age of 25 receive a lower benefit than those over the age of 25 on the new system.

They aren't entitled to the National Living Wage either – a double whammy for young mums on low incomes.


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