Millions to be given just three months to apply for Universal Credit

DWP to restart 'managed migration' to Universal Credit despite warnings from charities.

Published on

Millions of vulnerable people who are still claiming tax credits and so-called legacy benefits are to be given just three months to apply for universal credit or risk losing their benefit entitlement completely.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed plans to restart the “managed migration” of roughly 2.6 million claimants to the new universal credit system.

-ADVERTISEMENT -

The process, which was paused during the Covid-19 pandemic, will restart from today (Monday) and is expected to be fully completed by the end of 2024.

It will start with a trial group of 500 individuals but will be rapidly extended to all those still in receipt of tax credits and most working age benefits.

These are: Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Working Tax Credit.

The DWP states if you currently receive these benefits, you will receive a ‘Migration Notice’ letter informing you that your existing benefits or tax credits will be ending, and the date you must claim universal credit by.

You will have just 3 months to make a claim for Universal Credit from the date of your Migration Notice letter.

It comes as over 20 leading charities have written to the Work and Pensions Secretary, Therese Coffey MP, demanding that the process be halted and warning that it risks pushing millions of vulnerable people into “destitution”.

-ADVERTISEMENT -

The charities say they are “gravely concerned” by the DWP’s approach to managed migration and the arbitrary three month deadline.

The open letter, signed by leading charities like MIND and Disability Rights UK, warns that the deadline could have “devastating consequences” for many people with mental health problems who may struggle to make a claim in time.

According to DWP research from 2018, almost a quarter of people with long-term health conditions were unable to claim for Universal Credit online, while over half (53%) needed extra support.

It is estimated that around 700,000 of the 2.6 million people who have yet to be moved to universal credit have serious mental health problems, learning disabilities and dementia.

The letter reads: “We believe that your approach for moving people receiving older benefits on to universal credit risks pushing many of them into destitution.

“We ask you to consider the devastating consequences for someone who faces challenges in engaging with the process having their only income cut off, especially during this cost-of-living crisis.

“No one subject to managed migration should have their existing benefit stopped until they have established a claim to universal credit.

“Instead of setting arbitrary deadlines, the DWP needs to take responsibility for ensuring people’s safety.”

- Advertisement -

Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity MIND, said: “The DWP’s managed migration plans could leave people with mental health problems with no income.

“Those too unwell to engage with the DWP could be left unable to pay their rent, buy food, or pay their rising energy bills.

“During a cost-of-living crisis, this could put the entire incomes of over 700,000 people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and dementia at risk. This is completely unacceptable.”

He added: “The DWP should halt this process until they can guarantee they will not stop anyone’s old benefits until they have successfully made a claim to Universal Credit.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Over five million people are already supported by Universal Credit.

“It is a dynamic system which adjusts as people’s earnings change, is more generous overall than the old benefits, and simplifies our safety net for those who cannot work.

“Roughly 1.4 million people on legacy benefits would be better off on Universal Credit, with top up payments available for eligible claimants whose Universal Credit entitlement is less.”

- ADVERTISEMENT -
.

RELATED ARTICLES

piggy bank, money, finance

Energy bills could rise to over £4,200 in early 2023, expert warns

0
"The government must make introducing more support over the first two quarters of 2023 a number one priority."
Iceland supermarket

Iceland to help 40,000 pensioners with £30 food vouchers

0
Food vouchers to help pensioners with the growing cost of living crisis.

Cost of living support package will cover less than half of soaring costs, analysis shows

0
Financial help given to low-income households must be at least doubled to help families through the winter.

Thousands of part-time workers on Universal Credit told to work longer hours or lose benefits

0
Around 114,000 Universal Credit claimaints working part-time will be told to find more hours.
Family on a balcony.

Nearly a third of key worker families in the North West have children living in poverty

0
TUC report reveals that 3 in 10 key worker homes in the North West have children living in poverty.

300,000 on social care assessment waiting lists as experts warn ‘worst fears’ are coming true

0
The adult social care system in England is under unprecented strain and at risk of collapse.
- ADVERTISEMENT -

Latest articles

Energy bills could rise to over £4,200 in early 2023, expert warns

"The government must make introducing more support over the first two quarters of 2023 a number one priority."

Iceland to help 40,000 pensioners with £30 food vouchers

Food vouchers to help pensioners with the growing cost of living crisis.

Cost of living support package will cover less than half of soaring costs, analysis shows

Financial help given to low-income households must be at least doubled to help families through the winter.

Thousands of part-time workers on Universal Credit told to work longer hours or lose benefits

Around 114,000 Universal Credit claimaints working part-time will be told to find more hours.

Nearly a third of key worker families in the North West have children living in poverty

TUC report reveals that 3 in 10 key worker homes in the North West have children living in poverty.
- ADVERTISEMENT -