DWP warns 500,000 people to ‘take action’ or risk losing benefits payments

 (PA wire)
(PA wire)

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued a warning that 500,000 benefit claimants may soon need to ‘take action’ ahead of a major shake-up to the benefit system.

People who currently claim legacy benefits will soon start to receive letters asking them to move to Universal Credit. These letters are called ‘migration notices’, and claimants who receive them must respond promptly.

The DWP says people have three months to respond by claiming Universal Credit, or else risk losing their current benefit entitlements. The deadline by which you have to reply will be stated on the letter.

What ‘legacy benefits' does Universal Credit replace?

  • Housing Benefit

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

  • Child Tax Credits (CTC)

  • Working Tax Credits (WTC)

  • Income Support

Will I lose money by switching to Universal Credit?

Anyone who responds to their migration notices within the three month deadline should not lose any money from the transition to Universal Credit.

The DWP has said that if a person’s entitlement to Universal Credit is lower than their legacy benefit entitlement will receive ‘transitional protection’.

This will be a top-up payment that ensures their Universal Credit is no less than what they were receiving before.

The protection will continue until the claimant’s Universal Credit entitlement matches what they were receiving from their legacy benefits.

Do I have to move on to Universal Credit?

If you receive a migration notice notifying you of your three month deadline, your current benefits will be stopped two weeks after this date. If you are unable to claim by the deadline on your migration notice, you can ask the DWP to extend it.

However, if the deadline has passed, you can still claim up to a month after it to ensure you receive the transitional protection you may be entitled to. After this date, you will not be able to claim it.

It is advisable that anyone who receives a migration notice applies for Universal Credit as soon as possible. You will be able to continue receiving Housing Benefit, income-based JSA, income-related ESA and Income Support for two weeks after you claim.

All people who currently receive any legacy benefits will have to move onto Universal Credit by 2029.

Minister for Employment, Jo Churchill MP said: “Universal Credit is a proven benefits system fit for the modern age.

“With even more people moving to Universal Credit, we can continue to provide the best level of support for people to secure financial independence through work.

“I would encourage all those who receive their Migration Notices to take action to ensure they continue to receive the benefits they are entitled to.”

The government offers guidance on how to apply for Universal Credit on their website.