DWP to resume migration to Universal Credit
All benefit claimants will be moved over to unified system by the end of 2024
The government is to resume the process of moving benefit claimants over to Universal Credit.
The switchover from six outgoing ‘legacy’ benefits programmes to the new unified system was paused during the pandemic as resources were needed to support the processing of millions of new claims made for UC. The migration of existing benefit recipients – which the government said will be “carefully managed” – will be restarted from 9 May.
The benefits being phased out are: Income Support; Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance; Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance; Working Tax Credit; Child Tax Credit; and Housing Benefit.
Remaining users of the legacy schemes will be “gradually notified of when they will be asked to move to Universal Credit” and the process is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024.
An announcement from the Department for Work and Pensions said that the outgoing benefit schemes “all have complex and inefficient systems based on aging, inflexible IT”.
The department added: “Universal Credit uses a modern, digital system which stood up to the test of Covid-19 where it quickly ensured three million new claimants were protected from the financial impact of the pandemic.”
Recipients of the six benefits being replaced “will have their entitlement to Universal Credit assessed against their current claims, with top-up payments available for eligible claimants whose entitlement would have been reduced because of the change – ensuring they receive the same entitlement as on a legacy system”.
In addition to the government-managed migration, claimants can also make arrangements to switch themselves over to UC.
However, the DWP advised anyone considering doing so to first check if they will receive more support under the unified scheme – because the transitional top-up payments for those who will be worse off under UC “only apply to claimants moved by DWP, and people cannot reclaim their old benefits after switching to Universal Credit” independently.
People can use an online benefits calculator to compare their entitlement under the old and new programmes.
“A dedicated helpline – signposted on the notice claimants receive – will provide support to make their Universal Credit claim, and guidance will also be available online,” the DWP added. “Those in need of further support can also visit their local jobcentre.”
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