Many people claiming the new Universal Credit have had no money for up to six weeks because of computer issues and slow helplines in trial areas.
A national roll-out of the benefit – meant to replace Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Child and Working Tax Credit, and some disability benefits – is behind schedule.
But bosses at the Department for Work and Pensions got bonuses for “top performance” and “leadership” – sparking fury from Labour MPs.
Permanent secretary Sir Robert Devereux last year got up to £20,000 on top of his £185,000 salary. This year there was no bonus but his pay hit £190,000.
Neil Couling, director general of Universal Credit, got a bonus of up to £20,000 last year and a £125,000 salary.
This year instead of a bonus his salary leapt to £145,000 a year.
Jeremy Moore, strategy director, had a £20,000 bonus two years running – taking his total pay to £155,000 a year.
Mayank Prakash, director general of digital technology, got up to £20,000 this year on top of his £200,000 salary – so he earned more than his boss Sir Robert.
And Andrew Rhodes, operations director, had a bonus of between £10,000 and £15,000 this year, taking his pay to £155,000 a year.
He also claimed £37,600 in travel expenses.
Now 31 Labour MPs say the roll out of Universal Credit – dreamed up by former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith – should be halted.
Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, said: “These bonuses are a reward for failure…