Universal Credit pilot scheme begins – are you affected by latest phase of roll out?

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The latest phase of the roll out of Universal Credit has begun, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed. It will see a maximum of 10,000 legacy benefit claimants who have not had a change of circumstance, move to Universal Credit. This is part of a pilot scheme for the move – known as “managed migration” – which is taking place in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. The regulations for this latest phases of the roll out were laid on July 22.

The DWP has said the scheme will last for at least a year.

In March this year, the DWP said that the goal of the pilot is to learn as much as possible about how to help people move onto the new system.

In the announcement, it was also explained that it would increase numbers as slowly and gradually as necessary, expanding to further locations “as required”.

What has the DWP said will happen on the pilot scheme?

Claimants for the pilot will initially be sleeved from those that currently attend the Jobcentre for meetings with their work coach, the DWP said.

It has also said that these claimants will receive personalised support, and work coaches will establish whether someone is ready to move and build on their existing relationships in order to prepare and support them through the process.

Claimants will then be given a migration notice, giving them at least three months to submit a claim for Universal Credit.

The DWP said that the location for the trial has been chosen as it has been live with Universal Credit since 2016, and has a mix of the benefit claimants that reflect caseloads across the country.

The legacy benefits which Universal Credit is replacing are:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

READ MORE: How will Universal Credit affect me? Amount payment could change by on new benefits system

The DWP has said that changes to work allowances mean that 2.4 million households will be £630 per year better off, while one million disabled households will gain an average of £100 per month.

It has also said that 700,000 families will get, on average, £285 more per month, while people will access around £2.4 billion of previously unclaimed benefits.

However, the system is considered controversial by some, with the Resolution Foundation estimating that three million families entitled to legacy benefits could lose out on Universal Credit, compared to their current benefits.

A report released by the Work and Pensions Committee (WPSC), titled Universal Credit – natural migration, suggested that the average loss could about to £59 per week, or around £3,000 per year.

READ MORE: Universal Credit: Boris Johnson backs controversial system amid scrapping 5-week wait plea

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