Good afternoon

DWP updated its plans on the “Managed Migration” of Tax Credit customers, to Universal Credit. It expanded its programme, in June, to Greater Manchester and Northeast Yorkshire & the Humber districts.

In July, it intends further expansion into Kent, North London, Durham & Tees Valley, and West Yorkshire.

In August it will expand into Staffordshire & Derbyshire, West Scotland, and South London.

September sees the addition of Cumbria, Lancashire, Essex, Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire & the Isle of Wight, Southwest Wales, East Scotland, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland

DWP has produced helpful rollout data which, if you enter your local MP constituency, you’ll access details of how many claimants in that area are now claiming and how many are still to make the move.

As well as those being forced to claim, other benefit dependent tenants, in receipt of Income Support, Employment Support or Jobseekers Allowances, and Housing Benefit, may be required to claim because of a change in their circumstances (e.g., move to a new district). Whereas, others might choose to claim of their own accord or be persuaded by DWP or others, they might be better off under Universal Credit. Whatever the reason, many of those affected will need assistance to ensure they complete the claim, validate their details and don’t lose out in the process.

DWP, of course, maintains, it is collaborating with all key stakeholders (e.g., councils, housing associations, private landlords, CAB, and other advice providers) and following feedback from these groups, it’s added new information, on where and how claimants can secure help making their claim and transfer to UC seamlessly.

Under Managed Migration, each affected tenant will receive a Migration Notice, giving them 3 months to submit their claim for Universal Credit. Each will also have their entitlement to Universal Credit compared to their existing legacy benefit award. Around 50% are expected to be better off financially, while others, may lose. But where there’s financial loss, this should be covered by Transitional Protection (TP) if the claim for UC is made within the deadlines set, in the Migration Notice. For those that are compliant, they should also qualify for 2-week run-ons of their legacy benefit, including housing benefit.

Once awarded TP, it should remain in payment until the claimant’s entitlement is eroded or wiped out by natural changes, e.g., increases in rent, earnings, unearned income, or people leaving/joining household or annual events, like benefits uprating.

If you haven’t already prepared for this last stage in the migration process, nor alerted your tenants, it’s best to do so now, as DWP is clearly minded to bring this last stage to your area much sooner than expected. Private landlords should be aware that Housing Benefit payments currently being paid direct to you won’t be automatically transferred under UC, so best to take advice on how to avoid or minimise the disruption and potential rental loss.

We can assist by offering face2face or via Zoom, a two-hour training session, covering all aspects of the migration process, including transitional protection, two-week run-ons, and examples of how TP will be eroded over time or lost by a simple change in circumstances.

If you’re interested to know more email or phone me on 07733 080 389.

Bill Irvine

UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd