Universal Credit: DWP addresses moving to benefit as end of legacy benefits confirmed | Personal Finance | Finance


Universal Credit is set to become the main benefit claimed by those who need further support. At present there are six key benefits which can be claimed by Britons for a number of needs, known as legacy benefits. These are:

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

While many of these benefits offer important support to individuals, changes to the benefit system means they will be phased out.

The Government hopes Universal Credit will become the central form of support available to Britons going forward.

The Universal Credit system was meant to be fully live by April 2017, however, delays meant this date was pushed back.

Some were frustrated with the postponement, however, the process of the rollout has continued over the past few years.

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These tools, such as the one available through the organisation Turn2Us, can also offer insight on how benefits could change if a person starts work.

It is these calculators which can help individuals decide whether it is the right decision to change from a legacy benefit to Universal Credit. 

But the Work and Pensions Secretary also pointed to support elsewhere, stating: “I would imagine people can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or the CAS, in order to make an informed assessment.

“The Department does not get into trying to predetermine what a person’s Universal Credit entitlement would be. But we have worked proactively to try to make the matter more informed.”

Also providing insight was Peter Schofield, Permanent Secretary for the DWP, who stated the Department was working closely with different organisations and third parties to progress the matter.

He added: “We want to work through with them what the best way to help people understand the nature of the calculation, and help them understand if they would be better off.

“We want those who would already be better off to move over and to move over quickly.

“That then means the focus of the Department in terms of managed migration and a move to Universal Credit will be for those for whom we have to negotiate transitional protection as part of the move.”

Mr Schofield confirmed a timeline which would see a push for Britons to voluntarily move from legacy benefits to Universal Credit starting in August 2021.

He concluded the Department would be hoping to move people at scale by 2023, with work done throughout 2024 to complete the process.

Jo Kerr, Director of Impact and Innovation at Turn2us, told Express.co.uk: “For the past few years we have been living with a two-tier benefit system. A wide array of publicised issues with Universal Credit has been up against a legacy system which did not see an equal £20 uplift.

“First and foremost, it is crucial people do not switch from legacy to Universal Credit unless they will be better off in the long run. You can use the free Turn2us Benefits Calculator to work this out.

“However, it is also vital that if the government are continuing with the roll out of this new benefit, they make the changes that are so important. This includes maintaining the £20 uplift, ending the five week wait and improving the taper rate.”

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