[ Always use a Benefit Calculator https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators before claiming Universal Credit and or seek independent advice https://advicelocal.uk, Citzens Advice also offer a DWP funded ‘Help to Claim’ http://citizensadvice.org.uk/helptoclaim ]
Should people claiming legacy benefits move to Universal Credit?
This means that some households may gain in the short-term but lose out in the long term. Everyone is unique. Personal advice is needed to see if a household is better off on Universal Credit
Policy in Practice – ‘Universal Credit: legacy benefits run-on starts today‘ – July 22, 2020
Below is an extract of the amendments made to the DWP ‘is it for me‘ page on understanding Universal Credit (UC), which the Mirror claims “finally scraps” the UC ‘5 week wait’ for first payment. However, the DWP amendments below make no reference to new claims for UC that do not include any existing claim to “income-based JSA (JSAib), income-related ESA (ESAir) or Income Support (IS)” or for “contribution-based [New Style] JSA / ESA“.
Since the coronavirus lockdown came into effect on 16 March 2020, the DWP has seen 3.2 million individual UC claims. There are predictions of a similar spike in claims in the coming months due to companies going into administration, redundancies and limited employment opportunities, especially in the lead up to and because of the ending of the ‘furlough’ Job Retention and Self-Employed income schemes ending in the Autumn.
“The first essential is to accept the reality that millions of jobs are at risk”
Tax Research UK: ‘From furlough to meltdown is a matter of months‘ – July 19, 2020
The vast majority of new claims will still have to wait 5 weeks for there first payment.
“millions of people who have lost their jobs as result of this crisis remain subject to the five-week wait”
‘Universal Credit: Legacy benefit claimants to be given extra cash when they move to the new system‘ – inews – 20 July, 2020
Just last week the National Audit office report on ‘getting to the first UC payment‘ highlighted how many newly unemployed delay claiming out of well founded “fear” of UC, this delay will be added to the financial distress caused by the 5 week wait that has not been scrapped.
“Our stakeholder consultation also identified a level of fear around applying for Universal Credit, with some people worried about how they will cope, having heard about bad experiences from friends, family or through the media. In a situation where people are already in financial distress, delayed claims can exacerbate the pressure they are under”
‘Universal Credit: getting to first payment‘ – July 10, 2020 – National Audit Office
These changes appear to be trying to act as an ‘incentive’ to claim UC by claimants of ‘legacy benefits’ (JSAib, ESAir and “contribution-based JSA/ESA”), though UC has far stricter conditionality attached to it than ‘legacy’ benefits. For instance, JSA does not include the default expectation to spend 35 hours per week on Work Search activities.
Currently ‘legacy’ JSA and ESA benefit claimants are not being paid the extra £20 coronavirus UC ‘uplift’, so this new “2 weeks’ worth of” additional cash (run-on) and the ‘uplift’ may convince many on JSA or ESA to claim UC, but the ‘uplift’ is due to end March 2021, so in the long run many will be financially worse off.
In summary, this is not an end to the ‘5 week wait’, but an attempt to bring ‘legacy’ claims into the much more punitive orbit of UC.
“Building on the Autumn Budget 2017 announcement that Housing Benefit claimants will receive an additional payment providing a fortnight’s worth of support during their transition to Universal Credit, the government will extend this provision to cover the income-related elements of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance, and Income Support. This will be effective from July 2020, and benefit around 1.1 million claimants. ”
Budget 2018 – 29 October 2018
From 22 July 2020, if you are receiving income-based JSA, income-related ESA or Income Support, and either:
- choose to claim Universal Credit, or
- a change in your circumstances means you need to claim Universal Credit instead
you may receive up to an additional 2 weeks’ worth of those payments.
This is a one-time payment and does not have to be paid back.
If you are eligible for it, it will be paid automatically. You do not need to contact DWP to receive it.
It will not affect the amount of Universal Credit you receive.
If your payments of these benefits included any additional payments for partners and/or premiums, these will also be included in the payment. Any deductions from your payments will be applied unless they would have ended during that 2-week period.
If you also receive contribution-based JSA/ESA, this will be included in your additional payment. However, your Universal Credit payment will be reduced by the amount you get from contribution-based JSA/ESA.
If you continue to receive contribution-based JSA/ESA whilst on Universal Credit, this will be converted into New Style JSA/ESA. Your Universal Credit payment will be reduced by the amount you receive from New Style JSA/ESA.”
Is it for me?
Accessed 20/7/2020 (saved version of ’20 Jul 2020) – earlier ‘cached’ version of ‘12 Jul 2020 02:37:04 GMT‘