26th April, 2019
The “Managed” or forced migration of a further 3 million “legacy benefit” (e.g. JSA, ESA, Housing Benefit, Tax Credits) claimants to Universal Credit starts in Harrogate from July 2019, expanding to other (yet unannounced) areas during the next 12 months. Currently, there are more than 2 million recipients of Universal Credit with, at least, a further 100,000 being added, every month. By December 2023 the total number of UC claims derived from both “Natural” and “Managed” migration should amount to circa 7 million.
As it’s taken DWP 6 years to transfer 2 million, the majority of whom were single claimants, with 40% having no “housing costs”, there are serious doubts about DWP’s ability to add 5 million more claimants without casualties. The Social Security Advisory Committee has publicly expressed concerns over the challenges DWP will face in its attempts to meet its ambitious target of more than trebling the number of UC recipients.
Council, Housing Association and PRS staff have already played a significant part in the “natural migration” process. Without their input, many more tenants would have experienced some of the hardship and anxiety experienced by others less fortunate, especially in the first three years of transition. But the effort to date, in most areas, has only involved around 20/25% of your anticipated caseload transfer. Plus, a large percentage of existing claimants are young, single, able bodied and IT literate. In other words, the simplest of cases. The other 75% will not be anywhere near as straightforward for a DWP administration that has not exactly covered itself in any glory so far.
So, in this latest and most critical stage of the migration process, both tenants and staff must be suitably prepared and ready to cope with the many challenges ahead. With this in mind, we’ve prepared this new course. It will focus on the Migration process; highlight some of the key operational considerations that are likely to cause difficulties; and how these can be best addressed to avoid rent arrears, cash flow difficulties and the potentially insatiable demand of tenants, seeking assistance to resolve issues as they arise.
10.00 Introduction – Managed Migration process – problems associated with this – examining your caseload – identifying those tenants at most risk
10.15 Key threats to both tenants and landlord – Initial claim stage fallout – compulsory ending of “legacy claims” – claim & review process, including “claimant commitment”- SDP Gateway – Mixed Aged Couples – Transitional Protection
11.15 Break – Coffee
11.30 Common Problems – Poor decision making – wrong assessments with missing disability, carer elements – seeking a review of a claim – Mandatory Reconsideration – Appeal to Tribunal Service
1.15 Housing Cost Contributions (to whom do they apply) – Untidy Tenancies – couples separate – tenant moves away/dies – effect of changes on award – Interaction between BAP & “Whole month rule” – How to notify changes to DWP to protect tenants and your organisation from under and overpayments.
2.30 Landlord Portal issues – Third Party deduction abuse by DWP – Communicating with DWP at frontline and hierachy to resolve individual & more general problems – Overpayments, Recover-ability and Discretionary process of waiving or reducing rate of recovery.
Content & delivery
Throughout the day we will encourage delegate participation. We use practical exercises and case studies, drawn from the “Full Service” sites, to highlight the main features of Universal Credit’s latest version. Ultimately, the tutor will aim to ensure delegates are well informed on how best to maximise tenant entitlement; minimise landlord problems and reduce the potential for rental income loss and the need for recovery action.
Bill Irvine runs all our courses. He’s an ex Head of Housing (Benefits, Revenues & Advice) Services; COSLA appointee on Housing Benefit Standing Committee, Westminister; Welfare Rights Advocate and representative at First & Upper-tier Tribunals; ex Board Member of SFHA; Retained Consultant to a large number of Housing Associations & Co-ops and the Residential Landlords Association. As well as running his website www.ucadvice.co.uk he assists tenants and landlords challenge DWP’s poor administration and where necessary advocates on their behalf before Tribunals, Ombudsman and Independent Case Examiner.