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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Update regarding protections under Universal Credit for those in receipt of severe disability premiums

Housing Rights had previously reported that a revised set of Universal Credit (Managed Migration) Regulations 2018 would make provision that claimants of legacy benefits with Severe Disability Premiums (SDP) would not be at risk of natural migration due to the introduction of a gateway condition preventing such claimants from naturally migrating to Universal Credit as a result of changes of circumstance.

Concerns over loss of transitional protection for Universal Credit claimants

There were concerns that the introduction of a gateway condition would be delayed as a result of the postponement of managed migration; however, Minister for Employment, Alok Sharma has confirmed that new regulations will be laid to prevent legacy benefit claimants in receipt of SDP from naturally migrating to Universal Credit. This means that recipients of SDP will only migrate to Universal Credit under a managed migration process, whereby the government will forcibly move claimants off legacy benefits on to Universal Credit. It is only under the managed migration process that claimants will benefit from transitional protection – a means by which their new Universal Credit award will be ‘topped up’ to equal the amount of legacy benefits they previously received, should their Universal Credit award be less.

Mr Sharma commented that the new regulations (which won’t be subject to parliamentary approval) will:

‘… provide for the Severe Disability Premium Gateway. This prevents legacy claimants who are in receipt of the severe disability premium from moving naturally to Universal Credit and allows them to continue to claim legacy benefits until they are moved over as part of the managed migration process. We committed to bringing this important extra protection into force on 16 January and this provision ensures that we will meet that commitment.’

Legal precedent has already been set in the High Court to prevent the natural migration of claimants in receipt of SDP in the interim. Should you receive SDP and have concerns about migrating to Universal Credit, please seek advice by contacting Housing Rights on 028 9024 5640 prior to making any application for Universal Credit.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform