Roundup of recent DWP announcements
Managed move of claimants to Universal Credit set to restart
DWP is resuming the programme to move all benefit claimants over to Universal Credit by 2024. This follows a pause to the process during the pandemic when staff were focused on supporting the surge of new claimants to Universal Credit.
A policy paper on completing the move to Universal Credit has also been published.
From May, we will start to write to customers on legacy benefits to let them know that they will move across to Universal Credit and explain how the process will work. The letters to customers are called ‘Migration Notices’ and will let customers know that their legacy benefits are ending, and that they have three months to make their Universal Credit claim. To make sure our customers are fully supported, initial volumes of customers moving through the process will be small and controlled, initially five hundred.
Everyone moving over from legacy benefits will have their entitlement to Universal Credit assessed against their current claims, with top up payments (“transitional protection”) provided for eligible claimants whose entitlement would have been reduced because of the change – ensuring they receive the same entitlement as on a legacy system. These will continue unless their circumstances alter.
A dedicated helpline – signposted on the notice claimants receive – will provide support for people to make their Universal Credit claim, and guidance will also be available online including on the Understanding Universal Credit website. Those in need of further support can also visit their local jobcentre.
Additional support remains available for those in need, including the Household Support Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments.
Jobcentre Plus arrangements over May Bank Holiday
Jobcentre Plus opening times are different over May Bank Holiday.
Offices and phone lines are closed on Monday 2 May.
To make sure people receive their payments on a day when Jobcentre Plus offices are open, arrangements have been made to make some payments early:
If the expected payment date is Monday 2 May then benefits will be paid early on Friday 29 April.
If the expected payment date is not shown, customers will get their money on their usual payment date
Restart Scheme eligibility criteria expanded to include Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance
To allow more claimants to take advantage of the support available, the Restart Scheme eligibility criteria were expanded on 25 April 2022 so that claimants who are in receipt of Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA IB) can be referred.
New Style Jobseekers Allowance claimants are not eligible for the Restart Scheme. In addition to the basic JSA IB requirements, to be eligible for the Restart Scheme claimants must:
- Currently be in receipt of JSA IB
- Have been in receipt of JSA IB for a minimum of 9 months (39 weeks) with no upper limit
- Not be on another DWP contracted provision
- Not be receiving any employed earnings
Self-employed claimants can also be referred. Work coaches will select JSA IB claimants who are eligible and suitable for a referral to the Restart Scheme.
Participation in the Restart Scheme will continue to be mandatory for all claimants who are referred, and the support will last for a maximum of 12 months. Find out more about the Restart Scheme
Mental health and wellbeing plan
The Department for Health and Social Care has published its Mental health and wellbeing plan: discussion paper and call for evidence.
This consultation closes on 5 July 2022. Please do consider responding to the call for evidence and encourage your networks and members to do the same. If you would like to know more, please see the press release.