Government outlines plans to resume helping claimants move to Universal Credit by end of 2024
Universal Credit successfully supported millions during the pandemic
All benefit claimants will be moved over to Universal Credit by the end of 2024, with moves from legacy schemes resuming next month, the Department for Work and Pensions announced today.
Today’s announcement reaffirms the Government’s target to complete the programme. The restart follows a pause to the process during the pandemic when staff were focused on supporting the surge of new claimants to Universal Credit.
The six benefits being replaced all have complex and inefficient systems based on aging, inflexible IT. 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.
Universal Credit also provides claimants with one to one individually tailored support to help them into employment or to further their career, and people with a health condition or disability who cannot work could receive almost £350 a month on top of the Universal Credit standard allowance. Additional support remains available for those in need, including the Household Support Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments.
The process will resume on 9 May and will be carefully managed. Claimants will gradually be notified of when they will be asked to move to Universal Credit so as to complete the process by 2024.
Everyone moving over from legacy benefits 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. These will continue unless their circumstances alter.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey said:
Over five million people are already supported by Universal Credit. It is a dynamic system which adjusts as people earn more or indeed less, and simplifies our safety net for those who cannot work.
Parliament voted to end the complex web of six legacy benefits in 2012, and as this work approaches its conclusion we are fully transitioning to a modern benefit, suited to the 21st century.
Although notifications will be gradually sent out across the country, people who are currently claiming legacy benefits do not have to wait to be moved to Universal Credit. Anyone who thinks they will be better off can move straight away. Claimants can check their entitlement for Universal Credit using an independent benefits calculator.
People who are unsure whether they would be better off should wait to be moved as the transitional protection top up payments only apply to claimants moved by DWP, and people cannot reclaim their old benefits after switching to Universal Credit.
Claimants can also use the separate Help to Claim service for support.
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. Those in need of further support can also visit their local jobcentre.
Claimants moving to Universal Credit will receive a two-week run-on of their Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance. Those moving from Housing Benefit will receive a two-week Transition to Universal Credit Housing Payment.