Welfare that Works? The Universal Credit information technology system and disabled people

Catherine Easton


An important aspect of the Universal Credit benefit reforms is the development of an information technology system to support online claims.  While the initial aim that the programme would be “digital by default” has now been scrapped, it is envisaged that the vast majority of claimants will manage their claim through the use of electronic communications.  This paper specifically addresses issues relating to disabled people’s interaction with this system and the potential for marginalisation.  It analyses the development of the Universal Credit information technology system, key potentially problematic aspects of its delivery and the need to provide support to claimants.  Drawing on observations at an advice charity, conclusions will be made as to the extent to which the programme’s online delivery could exclude disabled people in relation to their interactions with the State.

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