Universal Credit delayed again


It has been reported that the roll-out of Universal Credit has been delayed while the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) tries to fix problems which were leaving some claimants in poverty.

The DWP was planning on moving over all claimants of the old benefits to the new six-in-one system from early 2019. However this plan has now been abandoned.

The new plan will be more “slow and measured” according to Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey. Only a “small amount of people, maybe 10,000” will be transferred across in 2019 to “ensure that the system is right”. Large scale transitions won’t begin until November 2020 at the earliest.

Additional changes include allowing claimants to receive their Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseeker’s Allowance for two weeks after a claim for Universal Credit has been made.

There are also plans to reduce the maximum amount the DWP can deduct from Universal Credit claimants who receive an Universal Credit advance; from 40% to 30% of their total award each month.

We also understand that they are looking at more help for the self-employed by reforming the way they treat their earnings.

However, there are no assurances any of these proposals will be delivered.

What are the key concerns of Universal Credit?

The roll-out of Universal Credit has been dogged with criticism over recent years, much of it centring around the time it takes for people applying to receive their first payment – a minimum of 35 days.

Further issues have been made in relation to the new system leaving people, both in and out of work, worse off and even pushing some into poverty.

We highlighted a number of key areas the Government needs to address before the managed migration stage of Universal Credit:

  • Ensuring Universal Support is adequate
  • Identifying vulnerable claimants and having processes in place to support them
  • Bolstering transitional protection and extending it to ‘natural migrants’ (claimants who are moved to Universal Credit due to a change in circumstances prior to the full managed migration)
  • Improving payment processes and reducing errors
  • Reinstating the Severe Disability Premium.

Pritie Billimoria, Head of Communications at Turn2us, said:

“We need to see the Government take stock, review and understand the reality of living on low incomes before the full roll-out of Universal Credit.

“Ultimately, people on legacy benefits should be actually migrated to Universal Credit rather than forcing them to start their application processes from scratch.

“If managed migration to Universal Credit goes ahead as currently planned, we will see some of the most vulnerable members of our society fall through the cracks of the welfare system and left with nothing to live off.”