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By Mike Brown.


Dr Mandy Cheetham, a researcher from Teesside University, led the study of 33 claimants.

The stress of making a Universal Credit claim has left some people considering suicide, a new study has claimed.

Dr Mandy Cheetham, from Teesside University, led a study of Universal Credit claimants in Gateshead.
She said it shows that the aims of the new benefit, to simplify the benefits system and move people into work, are simply not being met.

The study, published by Gateshead Council, found people claiming Universal Credit are being forced into debt, rent arrears and extreme hardship, with serious consequences for their health and wellbeing.

It shows people moving onto Universal Credit, especially those with disabilities, health problems or complicated lives, experience an average delay of seven and a half weeks before receiving their first payment.

As well as this, once the payment is received, deductions for advance payments and rent arrears are leaving people without enough money to eat or pay bills.

Researchers in the study spoke to 33 people in Gateshead and Newcastle who received Universal Credit, and 37 staff in Gateshead supporting people with their claims.

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