‘Truly alarming’ rise in people not moving to Universal Credit

Thousands of people may be losing out on benefits as a result of the rapid move to Universal Credit, say campaigners, as figures show a big jump in the number not moving to Universal Credit from legacy benefits.

Rising Costs

 

The proportion of tax credit claimants not moving to universal credit [UC] when required to – and losing all of their benefits as a result – has jumped to 39%, up from 25% in July,  according to Department for Work and Pensions [DWP] figures published today.

The Child Poverty Action Group estimates that means more than 180,000 people will have had their ‘legacy benefit’ claim terminated without safely making the move to UC.

It calls the increase “truly alarming” and says it is evidence that the DWP is ignoring warnings that vulnerable claimants are at risk of falling between the cracks unless more support is put in place to help them switch to UC.

Chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham said: “Today’s ‘no-claim’ figures are truly alarming. Claimants are losing money they need while the DWP buries its head in the sand. The department must slow down the managed migration to UC and put in place robust support mechanisms that will enable people to move safely to UC.   Without action from the DWP this is a disaster in-the-making.”

A Public Accounts Committee report on UC published in April warned that “…if the transition from legacy benefits to UC fails even an apparently small proportion of people, it will lead to real world misery for thousands. The DWP must make sure that people are not cast into financial hardship due to a bureaucratic change, and that robust support is in place for those vulnerable claimants who need it most.”*

In February a National Audit Office report also warned that the DWP has little evidence to show that people are making informed decision when they don’t migrate to UC.  It stated: “…DWP is on track to move legacy benefit claimants to Universal Credit. But it needs to be sure people who have not switched to Universal Credit are receiving the benefits to which they are entitled.”

 The DWP has carried out a survey to understand the high non-move rate, but the results have yet to be published.



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