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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has shared new details about switching people from old benefits to Universal Credit. Jo Churchill MP, DWP Minister for Employment, explained this plan recently.
A detailed schedule of moving claims from old types of income support and tax credits to Universal Credit will start from April 2024.
However, the migration process for those receiving Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), with or without Housing Benefit, won’t begin until 2028, the Daily Record reports.
According to a recent newsletter from the DWP called Touchbase: “This activity follows the small-scale discovery activity that began in September 2023 to support the migration of households from April and the learning from this discovery work is being used to inform and improve our approach.”
It added cautiously: “As before, we will only increase the scale of migration for these households when we are assured it is safe to do so.” The statement also gave details on Ms. Churchill’s timeline for shifting to Universal Credit.
The DWP Minister shared: “The ‘Move to Universal Credit’ activity will bring those remaining on the older, legacy benefits onto Universal Credit, completing the implementation of this major welfare reform.”
“Throughout 2023/24 our activity has focused on notifying households that receive Tax Credits only. This activity is progressing well, and we remain on track to notify over 500,000 tax credit only households of the need to claim Universal Credit by the end of March 2024. Furthermore, by February 2024 a month earlier than originally anticipated, ‘Move to Universal Credit’ will be underway across all Jobcentre districts within Great Britain.”
Adding further, she said: “The Department continues to listen to all feedback to continuously improve the service, but to date there have been very few complaints, and any issues have been swiftly resolved.”
Diving into future plans, Ms Churchill explained: “Looking ahead to 2024/25, we will be migrating the remaining groups of households receiving legacy benefits to Universal Credit, excluding Employment and Support Allowance only and Employment and Support Allowance with Housing Benefit.”
“Our plans for 2024/25 are to undertake the issuing of Migration Notices to in scope Working Age benefit households sequentially, starting with Income Support claimants and those claiming Tax Credits with Housing Benefit from April, Housing Benefit only claimants from June, Employment Support Allowance with Child Tax Credits from July and Jobseekers Allowance in September.”
“Households may be in receipt of a combination of benefits, for example an Income Support recipient could also be claiming Housing Benefit and/or Child Tax Credits.”
“From August, we will also contact those claiming Tax Credits who are over State Pension age, with households being asked to apply for either Universal Credit or Pension Credit, depending on their circumstances.”
The DWP Minister concluded by saying that the UK Government “recognises that some individuals may need additional support to move to Universal Credit”.
She added: “The Department is committed to providing such support through a range of channels for anyone who needs it. We will continue to review and revise this approach to ensure the success of ‘Move to Universal Credit’ for our customers.”
You can view the full statement on GOV.UK here and find out what to do if you receive a Migration Notice here.
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