The roll out of Universal Credit is underway, with the payment open to eligible new applicants across the UK. Some existing legacy benefits claimants can also apply for Universal Credit, if they have a change in their circumstances. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that a pilot scheme for the process of moving existing claimants who have not had a change in circumstances onto Universal Credit has begun. This is known as “managed migration”, and the trial is taking place in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
The DWP has said that up to 10,000 legacy benefit claimants without a change of circumstance will now move to Universal Credit, under the pilot.
It has said that claimants will initially be selected for the pilot from those that currently attend the Jobcentre for meetings with their work coach.
The DWP also said that, should work coaches establish someone is ready to move, claimants will be given a migration notice, giving them at least three months to submit a claim for Universal Credit.
Those moving as part of this process will be eligible for transitional protection, meaning if they stood to get a lower payment on Universal Credit as opposed to the former benefits payment, they will not financially lose out.
Legacy benefits recipients who do not live in the area of the pilot scheme will need to report any change of circumstances they may have.
This may include starting or leaving a job, or a partner leaving or joining the household.
They may face what is known as “natural migration”.
If one of the aforementioned changes occurs, they may need to claim Universal Credit instead of their existing payment.
What does Universal Credit replace?
Universal Credit will replace six types of benefits, which are:
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Working Tax Credit
Should a person currently be receiving any of these benefits, they are not able to claim Universal Credit at the same time.
The Gov.uk website states that it is introducing Universal Credit in stages across the UK.
“You do not need to do anything until you hear from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about moving to Universal Credit, unless you have a change in circumstances,” the website adds.
It’s possible to work while claiming Universal Credit, however the amount reduces by 63p for every £1 earned.
That said, some may be entitled to earn a certain amount before their Universal Credit is reduced. This is due to the “work allowance”.