Major Universal Credit DWP switch set to affect 800,000 as timetable changes

A couple looking at payment information
A couple looking at payment information -Credit:SCU

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has released fresh details about its strategy to transition claimants from ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) to Universal Credit. The DWP has already informed approximately 90,000 individuals receiving income-related ESA and Child Tax Credit that they will start getting Migration Notice letters from July, which will prompt them to apply for Universal Credit.

Moreover, the DWP is speeding up the shift for all other ESA recipients, who were originally not expected to move until 2028/2029. The department had previously stated that everyone else on old-style benefits would be reached by December 2025.

Yet, in a recent update, the DWP has declared that an additional 800,000 claimants on income-related ESA, either alone or alongside Housing Benefit, will begin to be notified from September 2024. That's a full four years ahead of the initial timetable.

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In a newsletter, the DWP commented: "Last month, the Prime Minister made a speech that included the announcement to accelerate the movement of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and ESA with Housing Benefit customers to Universal Credit. Many customers will be better off on Universal Credit compared to legacy benefits and we estimate around half of our ESA and ESA with Housing Benefit customers would receive over £100 a month more on UC.

"Customers will also be able to benefit from improved work incentives and enhanced labour market support for those who want it. Our delivery approach and timelines will be informed by detailed planning and engagement with stakeholders, but our current planning assumption is that we would begin notifying this group in September 2024, with the aim of notifying everyone to make the move by December 2025," reports Birmingham Live.

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Individuals transitioning to Universal Credit from income-related ESA, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), Income Support, and Housing Benefit will receive an additional two weeks of their former benefits to ease the changeover. The initial payment of Universal Credit usually takes five weeks, but those facing immediate financial difficulties can request an advance payment.

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