11 June 2018

Universal Credit – extending transitional protection and delayed roll-out completion to March 2023

In a written statement on 7 June, the Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey announced a series of changes which extend the Government’s current commitment of transitional protection for those claimants moved from legacy benefits to universal credit through managed migration (commencing July 2019) and a revised date for completion of UC rollout to March 2023.

Referring to transitional protection, the statement reads:

The Government has already made a commitment that anyone who is moved to Universal Credit without a change of circumstance will not lose out in cash terms. Transitional protection will be provided to eligible claimants to safeguard their existing benefit entitlement until their circumstances change.

Today I am announcing four additions to these rules to ensure that Universal Credit supports people into work, protects vulnerable claimants and is targeted at those who need it.

In order to support the transition for those individuals who live alone with substantial care needs and receive the Severe Disability Premium, we are changing the system so that these claimants will not be moved to Universal Credit until they qualify for transitional protection. In addition, we will provide both an on-going payment to claimants who have already lost this Premium as a consequence of moving to Universal Credit and an additional payment to cover the period since they moved.

Second, we will increase the incentives for parents to take short-term or temporary work and increase their earnings by ensuring that the award of, or increase in, support for childcare costs will not erode transitional protection.

Third, we propose to re-award claimants’ transitional protection that has ceased owing to short-term increases in earnings within an assessment period, if they make a new claim to UC within three months of when they received the additional payment.

Finally, individuals with capital in excess of £16,000 are not eligible for Universal Credit. However, for Tax Credit claimants in this situation, we will now disregard any capital in excess of £16,000 for 12 months from the point at which they are moved to Universal Credit. Normal benefit rules apply after this time in order to strike the right balance between keeping incentives for saving and asking people to support themselves.’

And referring to UC rollout, :

 ‘The process of migrating claimants on legacy benefits will begin in July 2019 as previously announced. In order to make the changes to the system it will be necessary to extend the completion of UC to March 2023. As throughout UC roll out, we will keep the exact timetable under review to do what is sensible from a delivery and fiscal perspective.

The full written statement is available on the Parliament UK website.

We will update the website as more details about these changes and the regulations become available.