MILLIONS of people are set to be affected by a huge benefits shake-up – and it could see your payments change or stop.
There is currently a move to a new welfare system where those on old "legacy benefits" such as Tax Credits will instead be moved onto Universal Credit.
Some of these older-style benefits being phased out include tax credits, income support and job seekers allowance.
It is estimated around 2.6million people are still on these old-style benefits, but the government plans to move all claimants onto Universal Credit by the end of 2024.
The move, called Managed Migration, began in May and came after a successful pilot in Harrogate in July 2019.
It started with 500 people in Medway and Bolton being sent letters from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) telling them how to swap, before being rolled out in Truro and Falmouth as well.
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Now, claimants on legacy benefits in Harrow, London, have started receiving letters informing them about the change.
The letter will tell individuals that they are required to move to Universal Credit in order to keep their financial support.
Not all benefits claimants in the area will receive a letter – just 250 for now – as they are being sent in phases.
The first of the 250 should have started receiving their letters from Monday.
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When claimants receive their Migration Notice letter, it will include the exact date they need to claim Universal Credit by.
There will be other instructions for them to follow on the letter and a dedicated helpline for people to call to get help transferring to Universal Credit.
If you need further support, you can visit your local jobcentre as well.
If you don't know where yours is, you can find it by using their online tool.
Will I be better off on Universal Credit?
Around 1.4million on benefits could be better off now by moving on to Universal Credit, to the tune of £220 a month on average.
But make sure you'll be better off after making the shift, as you can't move back after.
If you want to work out whether you'll be better off by moving across to Universal Credit, there are free online calculators that can help you to do so.
You can find them from charities such as Turn2Us, EntitledTo and also Martin Lewis' MoneySavingExpert.
According to MSE's calculator, you could be worse off on Universal Credit if any of the following apply to you:
- You're a lone parent who works but doesn't pay rent
- You have a disability and you're in work, but you don't pay rent
- You're a self-employed worker earning less than the minimum income floor
- You have savings over £16,000
Mr Lewis has previously predicted out of the 2.6million on old legacy benefits which are being transferred across to Universal Credit, around 35% could be worse off.
Citizens Advice also has a Help to Claim service to support Universal Credit claims.
When you'll be invited to move your old legacy benefits across will depend on where you live, but more are expected to follow.
Universal Credit is replacing six benefits under the old welfare system, commonly called legacy benefits. They are:
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income Support
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
If you think you'll be better off you can start making a Universal Credit claim and your old benefits will end.
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You will have a wait for your first Universal Credit payment, which could be up to five weeks and could leave you short.
You can get an advance, which is interest-free, but you'll pay this back in instalments from future payments which will reduce how much you get each month.
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