Sneaky, sneaky: Universal Credit slides a little nearer

joannemoores Sep 11th, 2019

Sneaking in, just days before the parliamentary recess, the government introduced regulations allowing the Universal Credit (UC) ‘managed migration’ pilot to begin and for the compensation of certain claimants forced over to the UC system.

Managed migration is the process in which the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will move claimants from legacy benefits, such as Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support, over to UC.

The initial pilot involves up to 10,000 claimants within the Harrogate area.

A more welcome late addition was the passing of regulations to allow the DWP to finally begin compensating claimants who suffered a financial loss when they were moved to UC by ‘natural migration’ before 16th January 2019.

Over 13,000 people, who previously received the Severe Disability Premium in their legacy benefit, lost significant monthly sums in the process of moving to the less generous UC system. A series of High Court victories for claimants over the past 15 months have led to this eventual DWP action. Protections were introduced after 16th January 2019 to prevent those with the premium included in their legacy benefit from claiming UC. Those who lost out before 16th January 2019 will now be compensated for their loss, as well as receiving an ongoing transitional addition to their UC award.

The DWP ignored their previous undertaking to also compensate those claimants who were getting a Severe Disability Premium in their housing benefit only.

It is disappointing that the government went back on their commitment to allow parliament time to debate the content of these important regulations and instead passed them at the last minute by the 'negative resolution procedure'.