CHC responds to report on Universal Credit

06/11/2018

UK Government yesterday released the report of the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) following their scrutiny of the Universal Credit managed migration regulations. As part of this scrutiny of the regulations, they undertook a consultation, with recommendations on how UK Government should undertake managed migration, the vast majority of which UK Government accepted and are looking at putting into place.

Major changes that have come out of the report are:

  •         Managed migration will begin in July 2019 (not with testing in January 2019 as previously indicated), meaning only 10,000 claimants will be migrated before 2020.
  •         Legacy claimants being migrated will now have three months in which to make a UC claim before their legacy benefits are cut off, previous plans gave them only one month.
  •         Migrating claimants will now be able to backdate their UC claim for up to one month if they miss the deadline to claim UC.

The response to the report also mentions that UK Government are willing to hold further discussions on allowing data sharing between DWP and housing associations in order to help them support tenants who may be about to undergo migration.

This is all in addition to the budget announcements, which were:

  •       A two week run on of JSA/ESA/IS, implemented from July 2020.
  •       A reduction in the maximum rate at which Third Party Deductions (TPDs) can be deducted from a UC award. Reduced from 40% of standard allowance to 30%. Implemented from October 2019.
  •       An extension of the period in which advance payments are recovered. Increased to 16 months from 12 months. Implemented from October 2021.
  •       Increase in work allowance of £1000.
  •       Extension of the 12 month grace period for self-employed claimants. Fully implemented from September 2020.

CHC has been working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and MPs from all parties to highlight the challenges of the Universal Credit for housing associations in Wales. Our work on this area will continue as we support members through the managed migration process.

Will Atkinson, Policy and Programmes Manager at Community Housing Cymru said:

“We welcome the changes announced by UK Government to the planned migration of existing benefit and tax credit claimants onto Universal Credit. A number of amendments proposed by housing associations in Wales have been adopted, including lengthening the amount of time in which people have to make a UC claim before their existing benefits are stopped.

“We also welcome the more measured approach to the start of the managed migration process, with a small number of claimants due to be transferred in the first six months. These amendments will help prevent claimants losing out financially during the migration process. We look forward to working closely with UK Government to ensure that the process is fully fit for purpose before implementation in July 2019.”