DWP benefits alert: The one letter that could stop payments for 1.6 million people

Over 1.6 million individuals risk losing their DWP benefits if they overlook a crucial letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), expected to hit their doormats by the end of 2025.

This comes after the government's huge announcement that all legacy benefits will cease next year. In a dramatic acceleration of plans, the government last month revealed that "migration notices" will be sent to all 1.6 million claimants on the old system by the end of 2025, slashing the original timeline by three years.

The shift could net the DWP a staggering £5bn saving in a single year, as data indicates about one in four recipients of the traditional benefits don't make the switch to Universal Credit, consequently exiting the benefits system altogether. The issue is particularly pronounced among the elderly, with a third of those over 60 falling through the cracks.


Citizens Advice has voiced concerns that the DWP seems oblivious to the reasons behind the high dropout rate among benefit recipients. The charity highlighted that many "have higher levels of practical and emotional support needs - but the managed migration process isn't meeting these needs."

They also pointed out that many of these older adults will not benefit from improvements to the Universal Credit online system, and would instead benefit from face-to-face appointments, which they say "should be made available to all claimants", reports the M.E.N.

Broken down into age categories, the proportion of people failing to migrate from legacy benefits:

  • 20 per cent of people aged 30-39

  • 22 per cent of people aged 40-49

  • 27 per cent of people aged 50-59

  • 32 per cent of people aged 60+

The six benefits and tax credits being phased out and replaced by Universal Credit are: Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

How the 'managed migration' to Universal Credit works

People claiming these six benefits have until December 2025 to make the move to the new system. Anyone claiming a legacy benefit will receive a letter from the DWP informing them that they have three months to make a claim for Universal Credit.

Enrolment in Universal Credit is not automatic, you will have to apply for it within this three-month period or your benefits will stop entirely. You can apply either online, in person at a jobcentre, or on the phone (0800 328 5644).

To start the application process, you will need to prive proof of your identity, bank or building society details, and contact information. To complete your claim, you will need to provide other information such as your National Insurance number, details of the benefits you currently claim, and other financial information to inform your Universal Credit payment.

For some on old-style benefits, moving to the new system will involve a reduction in the amount of money they receive. However, anyone who applies within this three-month window will qualify for transitional protection payments, which boosts your Universal Credit payment in line with your old benefits.

If you miss this window, your Universal Credit award could be lower than what you currently receive.