The DWP is expecting to save £5 billion due to the high number of claimants who will fail to complete the forced migration from legacy benefits to universal credit.  Claimants over sixty are proving especially lucrative for the DWP, with almost one third disappearing during the migration process. Citizens Advice has called for the DWP to investigate the high number of abandoned claims and improve the support offered to people forced to migrate. 

The government announced last week that the compulsory migration of income-related employment and support allowance (irESA) claimants will happen three years sooner than previously intended.  This is the second change to the proposed timetable, after the move was postponed until 2028.

The DWP have now said that all migration notices will be sent by the end of December 2025.

Whilst this could change following a general election, there is a strong possibility that the DWP will already have started implementing the new timetable by the time of the next parliament and it will still go ahead. 

Following the announcement Citizens Advice (CA), who run the UC Help To Claim (HTC) service on behalf of the DWP have sounded the alarm about the process.

They point out that around 25% of people who are migrated fail to complete their claim for UC. 

The non-claim rate rises according to age.  According to CA, the failure rate is:

  • 20% for people in their thirties
  • 22% for people in their forties
  • 27% for people in their fifties
  • 32% for people in their sixties or over

This is a much higher rate than expected and has led the DWP to alter its financial forecasts to show savings of £5 billion between 2024 and 2029 as a result of people missing out on benefits they are entitled to.  Because the migration dates have now been brought forward, this saving is likely to be made even more quickly.

CA point out that the DWP do not currently understand why the non-claim rate is so high, but CA  believe that many claimants “have higher levels of practical and emotional support needs — but the managed migration process isn’t meeting these needs”.

One of the major problems for older claimants especially, may be a lack of access to online services.

CA believes irESA claimants are a “potentially highly vulnerable group” and that it is essential that better safeguards are in place and that the government develops a full understanding of why some people fail to claim UC.

In particular, CA say that “independent advice on a face-to-face basis should be made available to all claimants: HTC is currently only funded to provide advice by phone and online.” 

But with such vast amounts of money to be saved, the DWP is unlikely to show any enthusiasm for finding out why claims are abandoned or to be keen on giving additional support to vulnerable claimants.

We know some readers will prefer to wait until they get a migration notice before worrying about the transfer process.

But we also know that others want to start learning more and making preparations as soon as they can, as a way of dealing with anxiety over the move.

Members can download our 28 page document “ESA to UC - A guide to migration” which explains the process for migrating to UC and what you can do now to prepare for managed migration.

You can read CA’s blog post “Our 5 concerns about migrating people to Universal Credit” here.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Susan · 15 hours ago
    Does anyone know if there's a petition going round that we can sign against the PIP reforms proposed These MP's are bullying disabled people and in fact inciting the public to join them in that. Newspapers too as they set up a calculator for those working to see how much they're paying towards the disability benefits!
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    Sara C · 2 days ago
    I'm sixty and, in the good old days would be getting my state pension. Had to give up work early due to deteriorating health. It took so long to get ESA and even then they put me in the job side. So fortnightly i had to go to the job centre with my oxygen tank to sign on a say I was fit for work. I was eventually put in the support side after appeal. It's happening again. I have informed my MP that I am on hunger strike until I receive my state pension. I was told in writing by my employer back in 1982 that my state pension age would be 60 and I'm holding the Government to that...... well that or die, which is probably what they want anyway;
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      Frances · 2 days ago
      @Sara C Grim for you. Not enough has been said about the effect of the raised pension age, especially on women. Years ago it was obvious to me that people nearing the old retirement age would not be fit to continue working, and that claims for sickness benefits would be their obvious route to a stop gap.

      It's disgusting that rightful OAPs should be lumped in with the unemployed and assessed for fitness for work. They have, in various combinations, done their work, full time/part time/flexi; adapted or given up careers; raised cnildren; cared for the older generation, sick partners and grandchildren; volunteered, sat on parish councils, run PTAs etc etc. Talk about flogging a dead horse.
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      Frances · 2 days ago
      @Sara C Grim for you. Not enough has been said about the effect of the raised pension age, especially on women. Years ago it was obvious to me that people nearing the old retirement age would not be fit to continue working, and that claims for sickness benefits would be their obvious route to a stop gap. 

      It's disgusting that rightful OAPs should be lumped in with the unemployed and assessed for fitness for work. They have, in various combinations, done their work, full time/part time/flexi; adapted or given up careers; raised cnildren; cared for the older generation, sick partners and grandchildren; volunteered, sat on parish councils, run PTAs etc etc. Talk about flogging a dead horse.
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    Tomkins · 7 days ago
    I read claimants with an official appointee will have the claimant commitment waived.

    That's good because My son wouldn't be able to comply with a routine change, an unfamiliar place or socialise with an unfamiliar person by phone or face to face. He also wouldn't have a clue what any of it meant.
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    Al · 8 days ago
    I saw the headline on Rightsnet today that the DWP have confirmed that they will start migrating ESA/HB claimants September this year. I can't read the full article for the full details so maybe someone with a membership can? B&W do you have access? Thanks.
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      beehive 1904 · 7 days ago
      @beehive 1904 Thank you to B&W for  clarification in today`s News post....
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      beehive 1904 · 7 days ago
      @Al OMG........this is yet more worrying news and, yet again, goal posts being moved...always a step closer - head messing stuff :-(.  Like AI I have now seen the Rightsnet headline but can`t read the article.... hard to believe that within a couple of months it`s gone from 2028/9 to starting in September 2024....I never got an April ESA letter this year and now wonder if it`s because I`m earmarked for the `first wave`?   Like AI if someone with access to Rightsnet is in a position to provide further clarity that would be much appreciated.....  
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    reasonstobecheerful · 8 days ago
    The dogmother, I think your link  is working fine 😊 You mean this one?
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    notsoeasy · 9 days ago
    It is a very frustrating aspect of the assault on PIP that the government has presented it alongside, and has perhaps itself even conflated it, with out of work and/or means tested benefits. This confusion has perpetuated the perception of the disabled as lazy scroungers. PIP is not an income replacement or means tested award, it is a payment designed to contribute to the various extra costs of diverse incapacity. Despite not being required to work, many recipients of PIP are, legitimate!y, working, and may need and use their PIP payments to help keep them in employment, by funding such as transport, assistive technology and support workers (hence not only working, but providing employment).

    The government speaks of targeting the payments. They are already targeted, sectioned into mobility and daily living awards, selected on the basis of very specific and scored descriptors. Noone succeeding in applying for PIP is undeserving, it is extremely hard to qualify and often takes many attempts with the demand for evidence and burden of proof on the claimant commonly unrealistic.

    One of the most unreasonable instances I encounter of the demand for proof is for evidence of suicidal ideation. There is only one conclusive proof of that.



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    Linz · 9 days ago
    Hubby has indefinate pip, both elements. His mobility (due to an RTA} is practically nil, the Dr. always comes to the car park at surgery to administer vaccines/blood test etc. He is  75 & has mobility car etc.  Will we have to reclaim,migrate or whatever the DWP are now requesting, or will we just be able to stop worrying?
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      Sara · 9 days ago
      @Linz Sorry, Linz, my answer to you keeps getting cut. Trying again.

      The various proposed changes to PIP are very much at the planning stage, and might never be implemented. There is no migration from PIP to UC, only from means tested and (for now) working age legacy benefits.

      If you are claiming pension credit and/or housing benefit, there are likely to be changes, but some way off, so no imminent concerns for you.
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    Ani · 9 days ago
    The council wrote me last month to say my ESA/housing benefit will be switched over to UC and that I needed to apply by "the deadline." When I phoned, they couldn't say when this "deadline" would be. DWP doesn't pick up; I was on hold more than an hour and just gave up. Most days I'm not well enough to use the telephone. I guess I'll wait for a letter? 

    Problem is, I'll be homeless in five months--the landlord's selling my adapted flat--so how will the DWP even reach me? Of course, it would be ideal for them if I dropped out of the system this way, wouldn't it?
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    Worry Wart · 9 days ago
    I currently receive DLA (with what was an indefinite award)& Income related ESA. I haven't had a medical for years (because of covid restrictions)& like some of you on here I'm worrying everyday that, the dreaded letters will come through my letterbox. It's definitely made my mental health worse & if I was forced back into work, I definitely would have a breakdown, because I simply couldn't cope. Does anyone know if DLA & ESA migration would be handled together & are there still lots of you out there that haven't heard from the DWP since before Covid? Do you also think that this will go ahead? I have no support from my GP or psychiatrist so I'm basically just waiting for them to stop my benefits.
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      Elaine · 8 days ago
      @Rainbow I agree I have evidence from way back but still they aren’t listening 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Rainbow · 9 days ago
      @Worry Wart I wss harassed....errr I mean reassessed in 2012,2016,2018 and 2021. They don't seem to understand "lifelong" or "untreatable"
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    The dogmother. · 9 days ago
    Oh crumbs thst link I shared isn't working for some reason. 
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    sirjames · 9 days ago
    14 years of being punished for being ill.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Denise · 9 days ago
    Been on the government sight about UC migration dates, and different benefits, at the bottom it says ESA only or ESA with housing benefit, will not be migrated onto UC until a later date, this is confusing and worrying.
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    Sara · 9 days ago
    DWP should be held accountable for, and made to follow up claims which do not migrate, then help claimant through the process. They should not simply rub their hands in glee, as they appear to be doing, at the savings. The lack of transition is the fault of the system, not the claimant.
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    keepingitreal · 9 days ago
    Re-posting because previous attempt got stuck:

    https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/cost-of-living/planned-dwp-pip-crackdown-could-9267361?int_source=nba?

    Since when did we not need nhs proof of condition? People who have been driven to get private assessments for adhd or autism have had their diagnosis rejected because it is not nhs.

    Anyone gone "hey, I've got MS/Parkinson's/Schizophrenia/Chronic Fatigue/COPD/Bipolar" for example, and the dwp gone "fine, here's the money, have a good time"?

    Have they frolics.
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    Can't walk, can't drive due t · 9 days ago
    I'm just going to send all my bills to my mp for her to pay, end of. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    A · 10 days ago
    I think I'm the only one who would be better off migrating to the UC, as everyone else is either reluctant or is scared of it!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    keepingitreal · 10 days ago
    https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/cost-of-living/planned-dwp-pip-crackdown-could-9267361?int_source=nba?

    Since when did we not need nhs proof of condition? People who have been driven to get private assessments for adhd or autism have had their diagnosis rejected because it is not nhs.

    Anyone gone "hey, I've got MS/Parkinson's/Schizophrenia/Chronic Fatigue/COPD/Bipolar" for example, and the dwp gone "fine, here's the money, have a good time"?

    Have they frolics.


  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    lesley · 10 days ago
    The dogmother, seem to have heard similar jargon before "single gateway" "workfare" (similar to workwell) We want welfare, not workfare! Correct me if I am wrong but are they not ideas from the U.S. from back in the seventies. They do not know what to come up with next!
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      lesley · 10 days ago
      @The dogmother. They will make people more ill with all their frightening threats. Most of us with mental illness could probably start a job and maybe do it for half a day or something, but to keep at it constantly day in day out would cause a breakdown.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      The dogmother. · 10 days ago
      @lesley lesley yes.. absolutely.  More rhetoric.  If it works, I'll eat my dog dipped on gravy.. and there's absolutely zero chance I'd Ever do that.
      All I see is more claptrap. 
      How do you 'motivate' anyone with constant threats. How too do you force those totally incapable of a single day's work in jobs that will never be suitable, some of us would need,for a start, multiple adjustments, but that won't take away our Pain,Fatigue ,worry,stress, anxiety ,panic attacks and the rest. 
      Total and utter waste of time and effort..  even if it's only in paper with a few 'pilot schemes. Which incidentally they'll tell us are working marvellously.Tsk tsk. If it wasn't so threatening I'd be busy yawning with the stupid boredom of it all. 

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