The new system was designed to make the benefits system more straightforward, by combining all of the support into a single payment. However, the rollout has been riddled with issues. The original plan was for Universal Credit to be live and fully integrated by April 2017. That launch date has been pushed back to September 2024. The delays have been caused by a number of issues such as administrative difficulties, budgeting problems and hesitancy from claimants.
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Migrating from the old benefits system to the new one has been trialled in various parts of the country to limited success.
Neil Couling, a senior civil servant who is at the forefront of the rollout detailed that there is evidence that people are scared to embrace Universal Credit.
This can be illustrated by a recent trial in Harrogate. A pilot rollout of Universal Credit was trialled in the town in 2019 but the results were uninspiring.
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The rollout of Universal Credit has reportedly led to many people being worse off (Image: GETTY)
Many who have had to migrate from the old benefits system have faced issues (Image: GETTY)
Will Quince, the MP for Colchester, was questioned by Margaret Greenwood who represents Wirral West on how the scheme was progressing.
As Ms Greenwood detailed: “The Government pushed through regulations on the managed migration of universal credit pilot only days before the summer recess without giving Members of this House a vote, as promised.
“In October, the Secretary of State said she was surprised by the small number of people who transferred in the pilot.
“How many claims have now been processed, and how can a pilot of up to 10,000 households possibly give a realistic picture of how transferring more than two million people could work?”
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Mr Quince replied: “Universal credit provides a safety net but, importantly, does not trap people in welfare. The hon. Lady is right that we are running a pilot in Harrogate.
“The numbers are relatively small at the moment: just under 80, with around 13 having moved on to universal credit.
“I can see that she is shocked, but it has been rather deliberate. My clear instruction to officials was to take this slow and steady, and to go at the pace the claimant requires.
“I want us to ensure that we have the information necessary to roll out universal credit without leaving anybody behind. We have to get it right.”
Rollouts for Universal Credit have been trialled all over the country (Image: EXPRESS)
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While many seem to be unwilling to move onto the new system, there are procedures in place to ensure that claimants do not see lower levels of benefits.
The Government has put a “transitional protection payment” system in place.
This payment is a top up for those who migrate to Universal Credit from the old system but end up receiving less money.
If that is the case, the government will pay the difference to ensure the claimant doesn’t lose out.
Many politicians in the UK have had to face questions on the validity of Universal Credit (Image: GETTY)
This payment is received once a month and the amount paid will be between £120 and £405 depending on individual circumstances. For anyone unsure of when they’ll receive this payment or if they even qualify, the government advises contacting the Department for Work and Pensions. It should be noted that this transitional protection is only available for those who are existing claimants with no changes in circumstances.
Changes in circumstances can affect how much is paid out in benefits if they are not reported immediately. Changes to keep an eye on include:
Finding or finishing a jobHaving a childMoving in with a partnerStarting to care for a child or disabled personMoving to a new addressChanging bank detailsRent going up or downChanges to health conditionsBecoming too ill to work or meet a work coachChanges to earnings for the self-employed