The DWP has begun sending out the first 500 forced Migration Notices moving claimants from legacy benefits to universal credit (UC) in the Medway and Bolton areas. 

The forced move comes in defiance of a plea by charities to halt the move until proper systems are in place to safeguard vulnerable claimants.

Initially just 500 claimants will be affected as the DWP tries to work out how exactly it is going to move 2.6 million claimants onto UC by the end of 2024.  Currently, if you do not live in either the Bolton or Medway areas you are unlikely to receive a Migration Notice.  Even in those two areas, the vast majority of legacy benefits claimants will not be affected yet.  However, no details have  been given for when other areas will be brought into the programme or when numbers will increase.

The DWP has published a page of guidance for claimants who receive a forced Migration Notice. 

The new page includes details of a Universal Credit Migration Notice helpline which they say will allow you to claim by phone if you are unable to do so online.

Universal Credit Migration Notice helpline:  0800 169 0328

The line is open 8am to 6pm and calls are free.  At the moment the line should not be very busy as only 500 notices are being sent out. But how long it will be before it takes multiple attempts and hour long waits to speak to anyone remains to be seen.

Claimants are warned that they have just three months from the date on the letter to complete their claim for universal credit.

If you are unable to complete the claim in time you can contact the Universal Credit Migration Notice helpline and ask for an extension of the time limit.

However, you must do this before the deadline date on your original letter and you will have to give a good reason for needing an extension.

The benefits affected by forced UC migration are:

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

If you don’t make your claim to UC within the deadline, your tax credit entitlement will end on the day before the deadline. [Thanks to Will Hadwen for correcting this]

Your entitlement to other legacy benefits will continue for 2 weeks after you have made a claim to Universal Credit. This means you may receive payments from your existing benefits for another 2 weeks after you’ve made your claim.

We’ll be updating the Benefits and Work ESA to UC migration guide in the members area to take account of the new information.

Meanwhile, if you have received a forced Migration Notice, we’d be very interested to hear from you.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    NL · 1 months ago
    I am in the ESA Support Group (No severe disability component) and according to the "Turn2us" calculator I would be on the same level of benefits on UC. 

    That said, I think that I am going to wait wait until I get notice of my "forced migration" and go from there...

    Also, when it says that you get 2 weeks money I get my housing benefit every 2 weeks and ESA payment every 2 weeks. I wonder which one I will get? Ideas anyone?? 

    Thanks 
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    Kieron Bevan · 1 months ago
    Why are they singling out disabled people who have paid into the system all their life and never said to the taxman oh can I leave my NI contributions for a few months I'm skint. Being disabled os nasty enough without worrying about these bastards cutting ones throat
    There is no security for sick people only worry and premature death 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jill · 1 months ago
    Will the DWP notify claimants about migration on to UC.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Thomas · 1 months ago
    I mean Forced migration to UC.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Thomas · 1 months ago
    I’m very confused and anxious about this. Currrently receive contribution based ESA. Will this be part of th forced migration to ESA?
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Gary Vaux · 1 months ago
      @Thomas No but if you get, for example, housing benefit then you will be 'invited' to apply for universal credit (and the HB will stop). Your Contributory ESA will remain in payment, with UC paid on top. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Cuthy · 1 months ago
      @Thomas No
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Gary Neal · 1 months ago
    I was forced onto UC when an ESA assessor failed to keep a home appointment but reported that I was unavailable. I've complained at every level and been fobbed off. It was a nightmare. They got my payments wrong and I was almost evicted from my flat. My anxiety and depression illness became unbearable. Also they now take all of my work pension off my UC entitlement which wasn't the case with ESA. This was back in 2016 ish when the system first went live. God help you all 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    andypandyuk · 1 months ago
    It is very worrying that the collective who are already on UC are finding that leaving a message to request help falls on deaf ears and can go unattended to.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Gary Neal · 1 months ago
      @andypandyuk It's an awful system and should have been scrapped. It's cost me my health and many thousands of pounds. If you complain you get nowhere because then simply do not care
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Will Hadwen · 1 months ago
    I think the DWP guidance page has led to some confusion here. You say that existing legacy benefits will stop 2 weeks after the deadline - but that only applies to the 4 benefits which have a 'run on'. On the DWP guidance it says:
     'If you do not make a claim to Universal Credit by the deadline, your last day of entitlement to your existing benefits will be 2 weeks after the deadline.' BUT that is actually below the heading 'Other benefits'. For tax credits, it says: 'If you do not make a claim by the deadline, your tax credit entitlement will end on the day before the deadline.'
    The UC (Transitional Provisions) Regs 2014 make it clear that tax credits just stop (reg 8(2)). I appreciate that you must have written this page very quickly! But for the readers on tax credits, be good to clarify. Ta.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    MrFibro · 1 months ago
    Hi to all,

    I have just gone through turn2us benefit calculator.  And according to the calculators figure, i'm going to be worse off.

    I'm on esa ir support group.

    It says you will get x amount of £'s per week/month which includes  a severe disability amount - of x amount of pounds included in the universal credit.  AND OVER TIME THIS AMOUNT WILL DECREASE ??????

    So if the law say because i'm severely disabled i get x amounts of pounds per week/ month,

    and moving onto UC i will then get less.

    Is this not a contradiction ?

    How can the goverment expect you to live on less, when the law said you needed more ?

    Just because i will be eventually put on UC doesn't men I'm going to be not disabled ?

    My disabilities wont change only get worse, so how is ripping me off my beneifts going to give me the same amount of benefit i was normally on ?  as that premium is needed to help pay extra costs for being disabled.

    Am I missing something here, if so, can someone lighten me, as i'm very baffled about the DWP's mathematics, how getting less will help and sustain a severely disabled person.

    And what's with this work journal thing i read on the govt sit, i ent never going to be able to work !!!

    The whole process is inhumane.

    Good luck to all.






    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Karen · 1 months ago
      @Salamander That’s a horrendous amount to lose. It’s criminal that they can get away with this!
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Salamander · 1 months ago
      @Karen And I will be worse off too, Karen - in my case it is because my SDP is paid as part of my Housing Benefit. I am told that this means I have no transitional protection for the SDP so I'll be over £67 PER WEEK worse off from day 1 when I'm forced over onto UC. It's going to be hellish, especially combined with the current cost-of-living crisis.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Karen · 1 months ago
      @MrFibro I was under the impression that those of us receiving the severe disability payment weren’t going to be moved until they’d found an alternative to that payment. I could be very wrong, or they could have just abandoned that idea, which is probably the case. Either way I am now stressed about this as I will also be worse off too.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jeff Smith · 1 months ago
    All this is being pushed through with the same ruthless ideology that is the hallmark of the DWP.
    What happened to parliamentary scrutiny of the Harrogate pilot area ? The blunt truth is, that Universal Credit is a harsh, repressive system, designed to discipline and control the claimant.
    No-one wants to go on it, and it has a well-justified reputation for being intrusive and stressful for claimants.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Mr B · 1 months ago
    Hi all

    All of the information in the DWP page linked to is important but for those on ESA receiving a Migration Notice the following quote seems particularly important:

    "You will not have to undertake a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) again when you move to Universal Credit if all of the following apply:

    you’ve been receiving Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
    you’ve already completed a WCA
    you’ve been assessed whilst claiming ESA
    If your WCA is due for a review, you will need to have another assessment. Your review date for WCA will remain the same after you claim Universal Credit."

    For convenience the linked to page is (which I hope works!)

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tax-credits-and-some-benefits-are-ending-claim-universal-credit/tax-credits-and-some-benefits-are-ending-claim-universal-credit

    I have seen on B&W and elsewhere that some ESA claimants 'naturally migrating' to UC have been asked to complete another WCA - even though one was not due - and also asked to provide a sick note!  My understanding is that even under 'natural migration' they should not have had to do this so I think its really important that when ESA claimants become subject to managed migration they are aware of what the DWP have said IN WRITING - and even quote it back to them if necessary - ie NO automatic requirement to undertake a new WCA and also that the reassessment period set under ESA (which in a small proportion of ESA claimants will be that they will never be reassessed) will be 'honoured' under UC.

    Kind regards

    Mr B



    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Chris Phoenix · 1 months ago
      @Mr B The way I read it was if you were LCWA/Support group you wouldn’t need another Assessment your original one would carry over to UC. It would be helpful if they phrased things so it was clear what they meant instead of gobbledy gook which mashes your head 
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      Jwahar jinty · 1 months ago
      @GorillaWheels I’d take advice first .from some Organization that deals with claims sometimes there’s hidden question they  don’tmean what they say .never give up a legacy benefit without getting advice if you move to U.K. you’ll never get your legacy benefefit back .I’d be carefull when mobility is involved are they then going to say on U.K. you can walk .
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Aw · 1 months ago
      @Mr B Due to covid aren't *all our WCAs overdue? Mine must be I haven't had one since 2018. No chance of me escaping one I reckon. Also does the 3 months allow for appeals against unreasonable claimant commitments? I can manage precisely zero commitments so I'm probably going to have to appeal that too... I've said this a thousand times, many direct to Neil Couling himself- UC could very well end up being the last straw for me.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Mr B · 1 months ago
      @GorillaWheels Hi Dave

      As you think you and your family may be better off by £140 plus a month it would imo certainly be worth considering applying for UC now rather than waiting for managed migration but if it was me in your situation I would first seek 1-2-1 advice from a qualified welfare rights adviser as a  sort of double-check before starting any claim for UC as once you do there is no way back to legacy benefits! I hope everything works out for you one way or another re all this.

      Kind regards

      Mr B  
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      GorillaWheels · 1 months ago
      @Mr B Good advice. I'm a CB ESA SG claimant, DLA MRC HRM, married, one child,  receiving CTC, savings under £6k, thinking of claiming UC sooner rather than waiting for managed migration. The benefit calculators show we will be better off by £140+ per month. So I think we will be applying for UC. Apart from the risk of an early WCA, although the above says that should not occur, I can't see why not to claim UC? I haven't personally seen the incidents you talk of above, early WCA & fit notes, but I would hope there there are other claimants who it has all been fine for, no early WCA and financially better off for the change.

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