1.4million on benefits missing out on £220 a month Universal Credit – how to claim

OVER a million people on benefits are missing out on hundreds of pounds in Universal Credit payments.

The government estimates that 1.4million currently claiming older benefits could be better off on the new system.

Around £4billion in total of Universal Credit is going unclaimed working out as £220 each month, on average, or £2,640 a year.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed the figures as it kicks of managed migration for millions still on legacy benefits.

All 2.6million claimants will be moved on to Universal Credit between now and the end of 2024.

The roll out of managed migration – where anyone who hasn't yet moved over is invited to switch – begins from today (May 9).

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That will start with 500 people in two locations, Bolton and Medway, and will gradually increase from there.

But anyone who is better off on Universal Credit can make the move before being invited.

A free online benefits calculator can help you compare. You can find them from charities such as Turn2Us and EntitledTo, and it's also worth asking them for advice.

Citizens Advice also has a Help to Claim service to support Universal Credit claims.

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You should consider carefully what moving over means for your money, as you can't move back once you're on Universal Credit.

And around 900,000 WON'T be better off and should wait to be moved so they don't miss out on cash.

When they are invited to switch they will get top up payments so they are not worse off – but not if they choose to switch themselves.

A further 300,000 will see no change to the amount they get, according to government estimates.

David Rutley, minister for welfare delivery, said: "It’s so important that people claim all the benefits they’re entitled to, and I strongly encourage anyone who thinks they may be better off on Universal Credit – including those in low-paid work – to take a moment to check online.

"Not only does Universal Credit offer financial support, it also gives claimants first-rate help to boost their job prospects, get into and progress in work."

How to claim Universal Credit

Universal Credit will replace six benefits under the old system:

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit

You can already be moved over if you have a change ofcircumstances, like having a baby or moving house.

If you think you'll be better off you can start making a Universal Credit claim and your old benefits will end.

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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You can read more about Universal Credit advance payments in our guide.

A change to the taper rate at the end of 2021 means that some people on legacy benefits could now be better off claiming Universal Credit.

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