As the forced (managed) migration from legacy benefits to universal credit (UC) begins this month, the DWP have finally released figures showing how many claimants will be worse off under UC.  Half a million ESA claimants are expected to lose out.  We’re asking Benefits and Work readers what questions and concerns they have about the move.

The forced migration of legacy benefits claimants starts on 9 May.  Initially this will be just 500 claimants, as the DWP is still very obviously unclear about how they are going to manage to move 2.6 million claimants by their deadline of  the end of 2014.

Just 38 claimants were moved onto UC during a pilot in Harrogate that was abandoned due to the pandemic.

Because that is the only experience the DWP have of ‘managed migration’ it is not surprising that they say that:

 “We still need to finalise our approach, particularly for managed migration, and will undertake further work in some parts of the country, learning what support different claimants are likely to need in order to make a successful claim for UC.”

Figures in the Completing the move to universal credit report released this month show that 1.2 million ESA claimants will be making the move.

Of these, 600,000 are expected to be better off under UC.  100,000 will see no change. 

But the DWP predict that 500,000 current ESA claimants will be worse off.

Of these, 400,000 ESA claimants will receive transitional protection, which should mean they do not see any reduction in their benefits to begin with.  However, the value of this protection will be eroded every year because, with the exception of the childcare element, any annual increase in UC will be deducted from the transitional protection.

So migrated claimants will begin to be worse off within a year or less of making the move.

Some changes of circumstances will lead to the withdrawal of the transitional protection.

Amongst the people the DWP expect to be better off are ESA claimants who are in the support group but who do not get the severe disability payment.

Those who the DWP expect to be worse off include households who get ESA and receive the severe disability premium and the enhanced disability premium.

Benefits and Work already produces a detailed guide to the work capability assessment for UC to help claimants who qualify to move into the LCW and LCWRA groups.

We also have a guide to migration from ESA to UC.

Although we obviously can’t do anything about lost income, we are working on additional resources to help members with the transfer process. We’d really like to hear from you about what your concerns are and what questions you’d like answering.

Please leave your questions and suggestions in the comments section below or complete a Feedback form.

Additional note: benefits that will not be affected by the move to UC include: 

  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (cJSA)
  • Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (cESA)

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Zoe · 3 months ago
    I can't afford to he moved off my esa with sdp. The extra pays my shortfall on rent. Terrified I'm going to be made homeless by this move
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    Angel · 3 months ago
    So basically, the ‘most disabled’ who live alone, will be worse off than people in a couple/ family or aren’t as poorly…. How does this fall under the Equality Act?? Discrimination against single people with severe disabilities. Are we not important??? And the DWP know this 😡. 
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    A Woodman · 3 months ago
    Due to a recent move change of address and because of “erosion “. And also annual rent increase my UC has reduced by at least £1250.00 per year worst off. That’s not taking into account the recent cost of living crisis. 
    T*
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Pansy · 3 months ago
      @A Woodman I need to move due to deteriorating mobility. I have been too scared to find (or try to) better accommodation as the thought of UC has kept me struggling with a house that is too much for me. So I understand how you feel.

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    Kate · 3 months ago
    With the migration, from what I have so far understood is that there is a 5-8week waiting time for UC.  Does this mean no money to live off for nearly 8 weeks???  I’m annoyed about this and that no one can give me a clear answer!

    perhaps it’s time to start selling assets (musical instruments etc) in the hope that this will generate enough to live off for the supposed gap in income.

    if any of you lovely readers know the answer to this, please can you help accordingly?  Best regards 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Lana · 3 months ago
      @Kate There is approx a 5 week wait for your first UC payment though you will be offered an advance which is then deducted from your UC over several months. You may also get a 2 week run on of other benefits that you are currently on 🤞
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Chrissyh59 · 3 months ago
    I'm on ESA support group and PIP enhanced in both elements. I also get the SDP and EDP. What is bothering me is these moves are to be finished in 2024. I will be pension age in 2025. So that means if I get moved to UC in 2024, that will all change again as I will have to claim pension credits I PC in 2025. What to bet this doesn't go as smoothly as they think it will!
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      G · 3 months ago
      @Chrissyh59 That is me too Chrissy, and then they wonder why we are also Waspi women.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sam · 3 months ago
    When I have to transfer from ESA support group to UC (I also get PIP enhanced on both elements on an ongoing basis). Will I have to go through the assessment process to be awarded UCLWRA and does the 5-week waiting period also apply for migrated accounts? Benefits aren't enough for me to have over a month in savings to cover the waiting period and without the transitional element I'll be down nearly £50 a week from my current amount.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Stressedoutclaimant · 3 months ago
      @Sam I thought that we were not being transferred to UC if we’re on disability premium?  This has stressed me out to the point I been thinking of ending it all (I won’t).  Also, what’s this about 5 week waiting time?  I am on support group so will I be put through another degrading assessment?  Is UC like ESA with work group / support group? I am very stressed.  Also I get child tax credit. Do I lose these? If I lose child tax credits and disability premium I think that’s £100 a week worse off :( 
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    Aiming To Get Off Benefits · 3 months ago
    I was not even aware that ESA claimants were being forced to move to UC. I find this concerning and worrying tbh 😞
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Dawn · 3 months ago
      @Aiming To Get Off Benefits No I wasn't aware of any of this change till I read this all today.   I'm in the ESA support group and get one of the disability benefits but that's it for me.  So do we have to reapply for the UC or do we just move over ?
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Carolyn. · 3 months ago
      @Aiming To Get Off Benefits And me.  I just found out that UC is income related, rather than the contributions related ESA Support Group I'm on now, so it looks like I will lose over half of my income and just be left with PIP to live on.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Daisymeg · 3 months ago
    I receive income based ESA and both the severe disability and enhanced disability premium. I have a mortgage still and really struggle at the moment. This move to UC will finish me. I will lose a big chunk of my income and probably my home. The MIS is a con as well. Well looks like I’m going to be homeless and disabled when this is rolled out. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Tracy · 3 months ago
      @Daisymeg Me too , totally with you in this , I am severely disabled , on esa income related , will be so much worse off , will lose my home , what about disability rights.  Since being moved from invalidity and disablement benefit , before esa I am worse off , now I will def lose my home if what I read is correct , claimants on severe disability premium will be worse off 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Pansy · 3 months ago
    I am terrified of UC and would be in a much less healthy place if they do this.  It will be starting on 9th May which is my 65th birthday.  I will (hopefully) be getting my state pension in one year from then, unless they take that away too! I've already had to wait an extra 6 years to claim it.  I am hoping that they will leave me alone with only 1 year to go, but in my experience, I rarely get what I hope for. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Julia · 3 months ago
      @Pansy Hi Pansy,

      I'm also very worried about this forced migration to UC from ESA Support Group with SDP. I have calculated I'll be approx £200 a month worse off if I don't qualify for transitional protection. I also receive Enhanced PIP for Daily Living and Standard PIP for Mobility. Like you I reach retirement age May 2023 (21st) and hoping DWP won't bother with me and leave my current ESA in place until I receive State Pension. One can only hope 😔
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Mel Skelton · 3 months ago
    In in the support group. With forced migration will I have to have another assessment or will I automatically be out in the equivalent group?
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    Jacqueline Staples · 3 months ago
    This is terrifying i will in the end lose over £400.00 a month how can they do this to disabled people it's down right discrimination no getting away from that fact i will lose my SDP £68.00 aweek this helps me pay for a cleaner and a daily helper, i can't stand or work my hands with9ut being in constant pain, due to medical negligence, as for PIP  yet they told me because i don't use a mibility car i.e. one they take all your mobility for i was not entitled to full carers component but got full mobility, that was last year i appealed but got ignored despite numerous phone calls still no come back we're to busy doing ones we have'nt done yet.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Woo · 3 months ago
    Your never more than a day ahead of the devil when your on universal credit.

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    MrFibro · 3 months ago
    How the effin hell can anybody vote these corrupt nasty Tories in power is beggar's belief.

    In saying that Labour is useless also, johnson and his etonian cronies seem to mock steimer and run circles around him in parliament.  Tories if they could, would end all benefits full stop.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    AW · 3 months ago
    I am completely terrified of UC & many times uave seriously considered ending my life rather than live with the stress of it. ONE work coach who has no MH training will have the power to completely ruin my life & I will have no power at all. I simply can't cope with the conditionality & threat of sanctions. Tbh the loss of income is the least of my worries.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      VikingMermaid · 3 months ago
      @AW I hear you.  And I would have shared the same terror in the past, but at least now feel that the B&W guides will help me through.  Saying that, I'm fine putting things in writing, but my memory is rubbish (neurodevelopmental issues caused by ADHD & dyspraxia) and I am crap at representing myself, so I fall to pieces if I'm questioned F2F.  

      Can I suggest you remind yourself you DO have power?  Because you're here, on this site, with the support of the forum and the guidance, wisdom and experience of the B&W team.  Take each step one at a time, read the guides, and you should get through okay.  Best of luck when the time comes :)
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Swede · 3 months ago
    I am so scared. 

  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    taylor · 3 months ago
    I receive ESA contribution. My partners earnings do not affect my payments. Will this change if I am migrated to UC ? If you have a partner that works full time.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Chris Phoenix · 2 months ago
      @J. Sumner Contribution JSA and ESA NOT moving
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      VikingMermaid · 3 months ago
      @J. Sumner Absolutely agree.

      I was told by Citizen's Advice a year ago* that I'd be better off under UC (I'm currently on contributions based ESA, Support Group, no disability premium) - but I have so little faith in the DWP and its processes that I chose not to request migration.  

      (*I had requested a benefits check primarily for my daughter (ESA-IS, support group + PIP), but they did one for me, too.)  

      It's crazy that we would choose to lose money we're entitled to, simply because the process is so broken and unfair.  When I applied for ESA I scored 0 (zero) points - this was pre me discovering the excellent Benefits & Work! - but was given it because of the danger to my mental health.  I'm pretty sure now, with the help of the B&W guides, that I'd score sufficiently well for UC (I need to look at the ESA-to-UC migration guide!), but I won't do it until I'm pushed.  The whole system stinks.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      J. Sumner · 3 months ago
      @tinytim Going off government website, I think ESA Contribution based is migrating too. They mention it. But it's shifty.. like a bomb shell. Not clear either..
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Disgruntled · 3 months ago
      @tinytim I'm on contribution ESA and that's what I read. So thankful! Already gone through the process of losing DLA & getting no PIP. I couldn't cope with any more hassle before my retirement in December 2023? 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      DB · 3 months ago
      @taylor Will contributions ESA support group payments be affected when moving onto UC? Thank you.

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