To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new applications for universal credit have been received since 23 March 2020; how many of those claims resulted in an existing legacy benefit claim ending, and what steps her Department is taking to ensure that no recipient of legacy benefits is financially disadvantaged as a result of making a new application for universal credit.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
7 July 2020
It has always been the case that, where claimants’ circumstances change significantly, their entitlement will be recalculated based on a new set of rules under a new benefit.
Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, DWP’s communications team has reacted quickly and across multiple platforms and mediums to help as many people as possible navigate the range of new and existing financial support available from the Government. This includes launching a new microsite within the “Understanding Universal Credit” website to help people understand the eligibility criteria of different support schemes and benefits and the interaction between the different support offers. Since this new content was launched in early March, it has received over 1.8 million page views.
The Department continually makes improvements to the UC service in response to feedback and user research. Therefore, on 3 June we introduced a check-through box to remind claimants to check their eligibility before making a claim and to remind them that legacy benefits will cease when the UC claim is submitted and that they will not be able to return to them in the future, even if the claimant is not entitled to UC.
DWP cannot advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK.
From 22 July 2020, a two-week run on of Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (IR) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (IB) will be available for all claimants whose claim to UC ends entitlement to these benefits to provide additional support for claimants moving to UC. This is in addition to the Transition to UC Housing Payment, a two-week extension of Housing Benefit, that is already in place.
Data surrounding Universal Credit caseload growth at national, regional and constituency level is published at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk
Guidance for users is available at:
The latest Management Information on declarations to Universal Credit was published on 16 June 2020. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-declarations-claims-and-advances-management-information