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Government statement on Universal Credit: Managed Migration

23 July 2019

Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions made a statement to Parliament on Monday 22 July, laying regulations to begin the pilot moving claimants who are still on legacy benefits, and whose circumstances have not changed, across to universal credit.

The pilot will begin at one site - Harrogate as previously announced - and will include no more than 10,000 claimants.

Rudd reiterated that the DWP does not inted to stop benefits of anyone who participates in the pilot, instead they will be testing how to encourage and support those who move over the universal credit without halting their benefits.

Rudd also confirmed that the DWP has revised their approach to claimants who are entitled to the severe disability premium (SDP), she said:

"The regulations that I am laying today will enable us to begin to provide support for claimants who were entitled to the premium and have already moved to universal credit. From 24 July 2019, those claimants will be considered for backdated payments covering the time that has elapsed since their move. They will also gain access to ongoing transitional payments that reflect the severe disability premium to which they were previously entitled. We have reviewed the rates of those payments to enable the most vulnerable to receive increased support. Claimants will now receive payments of up to £405 per month alongside their universal credit awards, increased from the previous proposed maximum of £360. We estimate that by 2024-25, approximately 45,000 of the most vulnerable claimants will benefit from this package of support, worth an estimated £600 million over the next six years. My Department will begin the process on Wednesday, ensuring that claimants are paid at the earliest opportunity.​"

She continued:

"Following the High Court judgment on the severe disability premium, the regulations will also—in 2021—bring an end to the barrier that currently prevents its recipients from moving to universal credit as a result of a change of circumstances. Until 2021, anyone who currently receives the premium and whose circumstances change will continue to be held on legacy benefits, as they are now. After 2021, the barrier will be removed. SDP claimants will move on to universal credit through natural migration, gaining access to the new payments that are available to those who have already moved over."

Sue Bott, Head of Policy and Research at Disability Rights UK said:

"We welcome the decision to right the wrong that disabled people receiving severe disability premium have lost out when migrated to Universal Credit. But it is time government got a grip and sorted out the whole universal credit fiasco. People shouldn’t have to resort to the courts to get their rights. It’s costly and very stressful."

The full statement from Amber Rudd can be read on Hansard.