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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    Gail · 1 months ago
    I was sent a link to see if I would be better off but it stressed to get advice before changing, where do I get advice from? I contacted my local age concern she said not to change and to wait until I was invited to apply for universal credits but asked no details of my circumstances so I’m not confident of the info given
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    E Moore · 2 months ago
    I have just moved onto Universal Credit from Income Related with full disability premiums and I am worse off by over £50 per week. T has been a nightmare and my mental health is so bad I don’t see any future
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jason William Lee · 2 months ago
    I am on esa sdp, I'm sure I will be worse off?  It is very complicated,,,,,,any views will be welcome?

    Could labour reverse their decisions if they get in in 2024..?!
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      Angel · 2 months ago
      @Jason William Lee You will lose over £40 per week, and maybe up to about £50. It depends on how much Council Tax you will have to pay. 
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      Angel · 2 months ago
      @Jason William Lee Hi. They are effectively stopping ALL premiums. Also if you currently get Housing Benefit this will become a ‘housing payment’ in Universal Credit. Council Tax ‘benefit’ you will have to apply for separately to your council (each have their own relief schemes). I will lose about 2.5K per year. Initially we will get ‘transitional protection’ to cover the premium losses, but that amount will go down every year. Wait until you are forced to move ‘managed migration’. If you do it before then, you will lose even more money. 
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    Christina Evans · 3 months ago
    Myself and husband are recieving enhanced pip, severe disability premium income support and one of us gets carers allowance. We have disabled adultdaughter recieving enhanced pip living with us. My husband and myself privately rent and allowed a bedroom each . I have worked it out,we are going to be a lot worse off under UC. I am 63,husband 57,he can't work as his hands are like claws .he worked with vibrating hand tools and would be entitled to industrial injuries benefit. His feet are wrecked by surgeries he had done on his ankles.His doctor has said he isn't fit to work. I can't work have osteoporosis and dislocated hips besides host of other conditions   The future looks bleak  
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Hugh · 3 months ago
    How can DWP justify, people in receipt of ESA, and severe disability premium and the enhanced disability premium could be worse off.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Marie · 3 months ago
    I am on esa in supprt group i receive edp and sdp will i be worse off on universal credit
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sidhu123 · 3 months ago
    Hello, I’m in the Invome related and contribution based ESA. Where would i stand on the ESA to UC?  
    also on pip and SDP
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Angel · 2 months ago
      @Jason William Lee Please see my replies to you above. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Jason William Lee · 2 months ago
      @Angel I am not good at maths so it is hard to understand.  I would like my old and new payments to be added up and then compared, the system should be more simple and fairer with no assessments every few years for mental health...
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Angel · 3 months ago
      @Angel I am presuming you are in the Support Group… if not things will be different… 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Angel · 3 months ago
      @Angel PIP remains the same and SDP vanishes….. which is why we have Transitional Protection..
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Angel · 3 months ago
      @Sidhu123 Hi Sidhu123. I receive both also. This is what I have garnered from several million hours of reading on the internet:

      *We will receive UC Standard Rate + LCWRA (+ a Housing Payment if we currently receive HB). ESA NS (new style) will replace ESA CB, and you will continue to receive that fortnightly. This however will be taken off the total amount of UC received (which is paid monthly). 

      *We will initially receive Transitional Protection [if we do a ‘managed migration’ ie. Are told to do so by DWP] for any shortfall in amounts; but this amount will reduce yearly as other things rise (UC, rent etc). I will lose 2.5K or thereabouts, but slowly…. . 

      I am hoping our kind of claim may be pushed further down the list as more complicated, but I actually doubt it…. Just prepare yourself to being 2.5 K a year worse off than you are now.  
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    GorillaWheels · 3 months ago
    Reading the comments, there seems to be lot of worried contribution based ESA claimants who haven’t read the note above at the bottom of the article, although in fairness this may have been added a lot later…

    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)

    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      hugh.prosser@live.co.uk · 3 months ago
      @GorillaWheels Thank you Dave, but while noticed, and indeed tried to read the 'additional notes', for some reason the link to them is not responsive. Could you advise where else on the site this information can be accessed ? Regards Hugh
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Sidhu123 · 3 months ago
      @GorillaWheels Hi, my letter says I’m on both contributions and income related ESA support group. Where would I stand?
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    G · 3 months ago
    Will they throw those on support ESA with long term disability under the bus?

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      Angel · 3 months ago
      @G Yep. Which I am sure breaks Equality Law.. but they do not care…. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      MrFibro · 3 months ago
      @G Hi G

      YES  they will.


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    GorillaWheels · 3 months ago
    I’ve used the benefit calculator on the Turn2us, Entitledto and Policy in Practice websites as Citizens Advice Bureau suggest and as above says    by the looks of it we would be better off, as I’m a contribution based ESA claimant in the support group who does not get the severe disability payment.  Wife works full time, one child, smallish weekly child tax credit amount, no working tax credit. I get DLA mid rate care, high rate mobility.
    They all said yes better off on UC, Turn2us & Entitledto gave figures slightly differing but not too different. The Policy in Practice calculator though gave us an entitlement over 3x more than the others?
    So I was left a bit confused, great if it’s correct but I have my doubts…

    Anyone else had any experience of an inaccurate result on Policy in Practice benefit calculator?  I put the same figures in, so I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong…Before we make any claim for UC I’m taking professional advice from an adviser.  But we could be between  £200-£700 better off a month…(the later I very much doubt)

    Dave
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      Caz · 2 months ago
      @GorillaWheels Yes i looked on the Turn2Us compare thing and it said 800 a month cut from my money (i get ESA support group disability premium and  child tax credit for disabled young person (son)  child benefit- housing benefit is paid straight to housing association at moment. We cant afford to lose all that and ill still have to pay rent too out of what it showed me!- thìs cant be correct‽
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Dave · 3 months ago
      @SwanseaWRT SwanseaWRT - Thanks I will. I’m a volunteer at a disability charity who have two paid benefits advisers. One of them has already said she’ll look at our figures and do the relevant calculations to confirm what our entitlement might be. We don’t get any council tax support/reduction, only the disabled band reduction, I’m not sure if receiving UC would alter this, as it would be more income? The thing you mentioned about historical tax credit overpayments coming to light in UC rings a vague bell from something my colleague said a while back…so yes lots of things to check.  In theory though it might be more financially beneficial to go to UC now rather than waiting for the invite due to our legacy benefit child tax credits.

      Dave
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      SwanseaWRT · 3 months ago
      @GorillaWheels Get a good independent advice agency to check you will be better off, the equivalent to the support element is higher in UC, but you also need to check amount of council tax reduction in your area plus passported benefits and there is the possibility of historical tax credit overpayments coming to light in UC 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Rosie · 3 months ago
    What do LCW & LCWRA stand for please?

    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      GorillaWheels · 3 months ago
      @Rosie Rosie
      LCW = Limited Capability for Work
      LCWRA = Limited Capability for Work Related Activity

      Dave
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    Katy · 3 months ago
    I'm terrified of being forced from my I R ESA, over to UC!

    I am widowed, & live alone, so get the extras, like the severe disability allowance, plus the other extra - I have bad memory probs, so can't think what it's called?

    I also get the full PIP allowance, thankfully, or I'd starve when I'm forced to change!

    I also get HB, & Council Tax paid for, so that's something else I'm worried sick about, as my rent is paid direct to my landlord, due to my memory problems - I haven't a clue what happens with all of this on UC - that's if I even get it, of course!

    This whole change is just another way for the DWP, & the tory government, to get as many of us as possible off of benefits!

    I'm so angry that MP's get paid a huge wage, & also claim thousands a year on 'expenses', & yet they call US scroungers! Grrrr

    I'm so terrified that they will use this move as a way of forcing me off of Benefits, especially as I'm mainly bedbound, & so can't work to earn anything to make my money up, when, or if, I do get UC.

    Does anyone know where, & when, this trial for 500 people being forced over to UC is going to take place?

    Also, will they go by Alphabetical order when changing us over, or whoever comes next?

    I ask, as I'm under B, so expect to get pushed over to UC quite early on - & with no way to save money, & nothing worth selling to raise funds, I've no way to survive financially while it's happening. 

    How are we expected to live while all of this is happening?

    I have to pay people privately to look after me, my home, & my garden (part of my tenancy agreement means I have to make sure both house and garden are kept neat & clean), & so every penny of my PIP is used for that - I am terrified of getting into debt, so don't have a credit card to fall back on, & am too ill to work - I'm bedbound for the vast majority of the time!

    I've been so scared about all this, that it made me think of suicide, but I already had to promise my daughter that I wouldn't do that to her, even though this stress makes it much easier to think of doing so.

    The DWP, & their tory bosses, are deliberately driving us towards that solution, & I really think that this was their plan when they dreamed this nightmare up!

    Why is it us, the most vulnerable of society, who are paying the highest price of all - paying for decisions made by the super rich, so they can become even more supremely rich, while they laugh at us as we are beggared?

    Why isn't anyone in Parliament shouting out about our trearment? 

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      Caz · 2 months ago
      @Angel I asked council about help with cleaning or gardening- they used to have home helps for a £5.50 'stamp' towards cost- they dont do any of that now- they told me to employ someone out of my PIP- so i got a cleaner- i can only afford 2hrs a fortnight- but i can't even afford that if i lose half of my money or more..Just what are they trying to do to us? I noticed a while back that DWP stopped putting "what the law says you need to live on" in their workings out of your money.!
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Angel · 3 months ago
      @Angel ‘Housing payment’ (instead of HB) will be included in your UC payment, so you would probably have to set up a Direct Debit to pay your rent. This is not appropriate/ possible for all claimants due to the nature of their Disability. It is causing people a lot of stress and upset. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Angel · 3 months ago
      @Katy Hello. I would ask your Council for a Social Services assessment, to see if you qualify for any help. In the longer term we will lose about 2.5K a year. This will be covered initially by ‘Transitional Protection’. Council Tax payments will depend on your council policies; I will have to start paying 25% towards Council Tax 😫
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      MrFibro · 3 months ago
      @Katy Hi katy

      I fully agree with you, but i believe no-one cares in parliament about us.  Otherwise all the DWP's shenanigans would not happen.

      And that's all parties.

      regards




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    Stressedoutclaimant · 3 months ago
    I’m on support group for ESA. Will I automatically go on support group for UC or will I need to go through another assessment? 
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    Krip Towers · 3 months ago
    UC are being more and more cunning on how to ensure people in receipt of sdp do not receive the benefit... 

    I requested text message notifications for all and any appointments. After speaking with an agent for over an hour explaining my disabilities and mental health issues, an appointment was added overnight without my knowledge and no instruction from UC by phone text or email. Which enabled UC to close my claim causing my second claim to be outside the time frame. After MR it was declined again even after explaining no notice of overnight appt.. 

    I've found a document online which allows me to request information from dwp. Considering this information is not readily issued by them. I intend to use it and request every appointment text message from January. 

    To enable me provide the necessary evidence that no effort was made to inform me of the application which will be sent off to judge so that I receive what I'm entitled to.
    In the MR the decision maker actually said sdp is a benefit I'm eligible for and entitled to.

    It's beyond beggars belief. 

    During this time I've had to use household support funds ( local council) of which I received 130 in shopping vouchers 

    It doesn't make up for lost sdp and UC'S actions are underhand and wrong 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    JR73 · 3 months ago
    This is all I need! Firstly, I had to migrate to ESA back in 2013? Then, I had to migrant to PIP in 2017. Just when i thought it was over, I have to migrate from ESA to UC. I don't like this as you never can be sure of the outcome. I need help with filling in forms and my parents are no help as, they hate form filling. It's a nightmare trying to fill in these forms. Oh, then, there's the assessments where someone decides whether you're disabled or not and, if so, just how disabled. Give me strength. It's tiring being shifted form one benefit to another and to another over a decade. Especially with all the worry that comes with it and decisions being held in other people's hands.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Tracy · 3 months ago
    Surely this is a case to fight, disability rights?
    Legislations are put in place to protect disabled and vulnerable people
    in respect of - transport, employment etc.

    Isnt this a diabolical system to do this to disabled people that are unable to work, our own goverment taking away our income because of a new system.  ISNT THIS DISABLED DISCRIMMINATION

    I have been disabled since 1990 when I was tragically severly injured in a road traffic accident, OVER THE LAST 32 YEARS, I have been changed through the benefit system, including, Invalidity Benefit, Disability Benefit and then ESA Income related benefit,  all of which I have had to learn to live and survive on a very tight budget,  my home is wheelchair friendly enabling me to live independently,  after struggling for the lasst 32 years to rebuild my life, make friends, now this new introduction to migrate ESA claimants to UC interferring with the Disability premiums means that I will no longer be able to even budget and survive, furthermore, will probably lose my home as well, all this struggling and surviving and now I stand to lose it all,  not be able to afford mortgage payments, which will then mean I lose my independence as a new home wil not be wheelchair friendly.

    This is disgracefulto be bullied and forced int this situation, taken me many years to rebuild my life, make friends and find my independence, I will have to move away from my home, my life and my independence,  Is this not DISCRIMINATION?? by a benefit system trhat is in place to help disabled.

    I read an article online today dated 2019 when ESA to UC was first mentioned

    I quote the question was :

    Will I lose money when I move to Universal Credit?

    The Government have said that if you are receiving more money from your existing benefits than you would do under Universal Credit you will receive 'transitional protection' which is a payment that will mean that you won't be worse off. That might affect you if you are receiving the 'Severe Disability Premium' or if you receive the 'Work Related Activity Component' on your ESA claim.
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      Caz · 2 months ago
      @Tracy Well i will fight it- if I'm forced to move and lose half or over half of my money I'm going to blinking well sue the DWP!- its been done before.I don't see why we shouldnt- they are going against disability laws. If we were awarded the extra payments we have now then why should they be allowed to 'abolish' them off their own bat!
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    Saira Binns · 3 months ago
    Why will you get less migrating to UC when you get the severe disability premium, doesn’t make sense?!
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Caz · 2 months ago
      @Angel Well if i don't get at least same money as I'm on now i WILL be sueing them.And they can spout that transitional rubbish all they like- thats just to transition over- not ALL TIME- So they can forget it!
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Angel · 3 months ago
      @Saira Binns The Tory Govt have abolished it. 
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    BlueFairy · 3 months ago
    Will this affect people on contributions-based ESA? I am really confused as to whether they are keeping ESA for CB folks - is that the 'new style ESA'?

    I am worried as there is no way I would qualify for UC due to my husband's earnings.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Caz · 2 months ago
      @GorillaWheels Why should contribution ESA people NOT have to move- yet others in income related ESA do??thats totally unfair- we should all be moved or none!
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      VikingMermaid · 3 months ago
      @GorillaWheels Dave, I was also told (by Citizen's Advice) that I'd be better off moving from CB-ESA (SG) to UC.  I simply cannot face another F2F assessment though* so, even though I'm losing out financially, I'd rather that than the mental stress of going through another assessment.  

      (*I had a 9am appt, didn't get invited in to my assessment til 9.35am, they didn't have the tape recorder I'd requested a fortnight before, so we ended up having to move room, and my assessment didn't start until 9.55am.  I told the assessor I had an 11am appointment at DAS (Depression & Anxiety Service, as was), and he laughed and said 'Well, you'd better phone and cancel it then, hadn't you?' - and then used hearing me make the phone call to challenge me about my anxiety...  

      The assessment went on until 12.10pm, no offer of a cup of tea or glass of water, and I was absolutely wrung out.  I then heard nothing for six months, so asked Citizen's Advice for help.  Turned out that the computers that assessors type the answers into automatically shut down after a certain time - so half my responses weren't recorded!  They at least had a taped recording of it, all 2+ hours long, haha.  

      TRIGGER WARNING
      At the end of it all, I scored zero points (unbelievable), but because I had tried to take my own life, they awarded me ESA on the grounds that not awarding it could adversely affect my mental welfare...  

      The thought of having to endure all that again is simply too much, so I can't / won't do it until I'm forced to.)
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      GorillaWheels · 3 months ago
      @BlueFairy BlueFairy my understanding of things, after talking to a professional benefits adviser friend, is that contribution based ESA, whether “old” or “new style” is not a “legacy benefit” it is not a means tested benefit, so you won’t have to go over to it as part of the planned migration to UC. I’m pretty sure your fine in your situation.

      Turn2us website says,
      ”Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit for people of working age who are on a low income.
      It replaces six means-tested benefits:
      Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
      Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
      Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit.
      The above six benefits are also known as legacy benefits.”

      I’m contribution based ESA SG, DLA middle care, high mob and my wife works full time and we get a relatively small amount of child tax credits (one daughter 11) with our combined ESA & wage. We have own mortgaged home. My benefit adviser friend told me that “if” we claimed UC, my ESA payment would remain as is paid fortnightly, my DLA payment would stay as is paid 4 weekly, child benefit also stays paid weekly. It is only the child tax credits payment that would end as it is now paid weekly.
      I’ve done the benefit calculator on Turn2us, Entitledto and Policy in Practice and the all say we would be better off getting with UC.  My only issue, which I’m looking into first before applying, is two of the sites give a similar-ish entitlement but Policy in Practice give a much higher entitlement which I’m dubious about. My friend is going to do her own calculations with our figures before we make any decisions, but on the face of it with our figures we would be better off on UC.  As we claim child tax credits, we would be part of the planned migration eventually by December 2024 but it looks like if we go over sooner we’ll be better off.  I’d never really thought about this until the last Benefits & Work email, but after asking about in our situation it looks positive that I would be an ESA recipient would be better.  No will tell but I’m not rushing anything 🙂

      Dave

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    izzy831 · 3 months ago
    Like many I too am worried. The irony is I am ex-DWP also. (Yes, we get treated exactly the same folks)
    What bothers me has been the lack of information or even notice of changes. (Almost exactly the same as when the women's pension review was devised and not advertised prominently). Unless you were riveted to the budget or read the financial sections of papers you would not really be aware this bombshell was coming.
    Surely there must be some way to challenge this. I mean the disabled are being affected more than any other benefit client.  There has to be some law that prevents people who were ASSURED of their status & GUARANTEED their entitlement only to see it removed by a legislative change in less than 5 years. That change instigated by alleged saving monies for the treasury. What a joke. Perhaps they need to chase the black economy (at least they can work!!) Or the tax evaders/avoiders   within the MP ranks. It is such a hypocritical standard.
    This country is supposed to look after it's weak. Not kick them further down the hell they are in.
    Nobody asks to remain disabled.😡 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Tracy · 3 months ago
      @izzy831 Izzy totally agree with you , this is appalling how we are being treated , I will def lose my home on UC,  years ago when I was a Invalidity or Incapacity claimamt, in 1990, I dont remember which? I was often told that claiming the benefit before 1995 i think then, gave me some option that then put me into a different catergory? do you remember this ?
      Yes totally agree, no one wants to be disabled, its been hard enough without this being forced on us too .
      Total discrimination towards the severley disabled. Unbelievable !  the worse your disability, the more the penalise you !

    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Christy · 3 months ago
      @izzy831 Lost my WTC due to being long term sick and have an overpayment to pay back.  HMRC said I'd be fine as I had paid enough NI contributions but alas I was notified that I had been overpaid and my payments were stopping .  Was diagnosed with a further debilitating health issue hence my time off work.  So I lost my WTC along with the severe disability element. 

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