Shelter Response: Consultation on Universal Credit managed migration

By: Heather Spurr  Published: August 2018


Shelter welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to this inquiry. More than 4.7 million people came to Shelter for help last year for help with housing and homelessness problems across England and Scotland.

Summary

Shelter welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to this inquiry. More than 4.7 million people came to Shelter for help last year for help with housing and homelessness problems across England and Scotland.

  • DWP expects that 2.87 million people will manage migrate from existing benefits to Universal Credit (UC) between January 2019 and 2023. Alongside the natural migration process, this means that 8.5 million claimants are expected to be on UC by 2024/25.
  • Despite the welcome changes in the Autumn Budget 2017, many of the most serious problems with UC endure. Long waits for initial payments and unaffordable third-party deductions and advance payment repayments are causing severe hardship.
  • Shelter is concerned that UC is not yet ready for the additional strain that managed migration would introduce. Under managed migration, DWP estimates that 95,000 people will migrate per month when the operation is at pace.
  • Additionally, the profile of those who will undergo managed migration means that a large proportion will be vulnerable and will need help with their claim. More than one third (36%) of those who will manage migrate over to UC will be Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants, meaning they have a disability or health condition that limits their ability to work.
  • It is concerning that DWP is making claimants responsible for making sure there is no gap in their award and the process risks claimants falling through the cracks if they do not make a claim before deadline day.
  • A period where a payment is not in place will put pressure on rent payments and puts people at risk of eviction and homelessness.
  • DWP’s proposed safeguards depend on work coaches identifying vulnerability, however vulnerabilities are not currently being adequately identified and tailored for.
  • Shelter is very concerned that if claimants fail to claim by their deadline day they will lose their transitional protection. This will leave many vulnerable people significantly worse off indefinitely.

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