Has there been a delay to the roll-out of Universal Credit?
In response to an Oral question in the House of Commons yesterday, the Secretary of State for Department for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd, announced that the vote for moving people from legacy benefits to Universal Credit (managed migration) has been delayed.
Homeless Link, alongside Centrepoint, Crisis, Depaul, Shelter and St Mungo’s, wrote to MPs in December 2018 to call for the Government to delay the vote to allow for further scrutiny, specifically as the regulations as drafted could have led to people experiencing homelessness having their benefits terminated if they did not make a new claim. It is hoped that the welcomed delay will provide an opportunity for required reforms to be made so that people experiencing homelessness are able to claim benefits.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also announced that a 10,000-person managed migration pilot will inform any future regulations. Homeless Link will provide members with further details of the pilot as these become available. We will be working with members and the Department to ensure the experiences of people who are homeless including those in supported accommodation are considered in the development and implementation of the pilot.
Although the vote on managed migration has been delayed, anyone making a new claim for benefits will have to make a claim for Universal Credit. Further, various changes in circumstances for those on legacy benefits can still result in people being moved over to Universal Credit. Although the Department has not provided a definitive list, these circumstances include where claimants will have historically had to claim a new benefit, for example, if they become unemployed or receive housing benefit and move to a different local authority.
Homeless Link has developed some briefings for staff from homelessness services that are supporting people to make a claim for Universal Credit. These cover tips and information on making a new claim, accessing Advance Payments and Alternative Payment Arrangements and accessing Easements and Hardship Payments.
The Department for Work and Pensions has also released guidance on Universal Credit for organisations supporting people experiencing homelessness and information around making a claim for Universal Credit for people experiencing homelessness.