Universal Credit (UC) is a fair benefit that protects vulnerable claimants and ensures that work always pays. As it is a simpler, more accurate benefit based on up-to-date information, it will provide people with their full entitlement. This means that 700,000 people will receive on average an extra £285 per month which they have not received under the existing system. Around a million disabled claimants will gain on average £100 a month, because their award is higher through UC than legacy benefits.
In this year's budget, the Chancellor announced a £4.5 billion package UC, which will make a real difference to the lives of claimants across the country. An extra £1.7 billion a year will be put into work allowances, increasing the amount that hardworking families can earn by £1,000 before their award is tapered away, providing extra support for 2.4 million working families.
This is on top of a £1 billion package of changes, providing two additional weeks of legacy benefits for those moved onto UC, a twelve-month grace period before the Minimum Income Floor is applied, and a reduction of the normal maximum rate at which debts are deducted from UC awards, from 40 per cent to 30 per cent of Standard Allowances.
In addition next year, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will start the wider process of moving people from legacy benefits onto UC, following the passage of regulations in Parliament. These regulations will provide a comprehensive wrap around support package, and transitional protection to ensure people are not worse off. This includes support for around 500,000 people who are eligible for a Severe Disability Premium.
There will be flexibility to extend the transition period for people alongside a process to ensure that staff check for evidence of complex needs or vulnerability or disability before existing benefits are stopped. Furthermore, if someone misses their deadline to make a claim, there are provisions in the regulations for the DWP to back-date their claim.
By December 2018, UC will have rolled out to every Job Centre in the country. This means that people who are making new claims to the benefits system now receive UC rather than being put on the legacy system.
Throughout managed migration, the DWP will continue to take a slow and measured approach. This will begin in July 2019, after a period of preparation. For a further year the DWP will then begin migration by working with a maximum of 10,000 people, continuing with their 'test and learn' approach. This is to ensure the system is working well for claimants and to make any necessary adaptions they we go, until the full rollout ends in 2023.