Severely disabled Brits WON'T be forced onto Universal Credit – but those already on it will wait months to get repaid

Amber Rudd has halted anyone who gets the Severe Disability Premium benefit from being automatically put onto the flagship new system.

In letters released yesterday she revealed that she had pushed through emergency powers to make sure that people on the old system will allow them to stay there until they are migrated over – which won't be for at least six months.

She wrote to the powerful Work and Pensions Committee, headed up by MP Frank Field: "This will prevent legacy claimants who are in receipt of SDP from moving to Universal Credit and allow them to claim legacy benefits until they are managed migrated."

The change came into force on 16 January, meaning anyone who moves house or has a "change of circumstances" won't be automatically put onto Universal Credit.

And she's also issued guidance to jobcentre staff to make sure they are allowed to stay on the old system.

Many disabled Brits have lost hundreds of pounds every month since they switched over.

Last year the then-Secretary of State confirmed that people getting SDP will get extra cash in the form of a "transitional payment" but they still have no idea when this will be.

The Sun revealed before Christmas that the new DWP boss was under pressure to say when she would let those who have already gone onto Universal Credit get their extra payments – and any backpayments too.

Around 7,000 people are thought to have lost out on extra benefits due to the switch-over.

The news comes after The Sun launched a Make Universal Credit Work campaign last month.

We've told harrowing stories of Brits drowning in debt going onto the new system – and being worse off when they move over.

We want ministers to make vital changes to the system before it's too late – slashing the wait for help, getting childcare help upfront, and for Brits to keep more of what they earn.

The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work

One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.

But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.

And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.

Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.

It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the government to:

  1. Get paid faster: The government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
  2. Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
  3. Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.

Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.

Join our Universal Credit Facebook group or email [email protected] to share your story. 

But Ms Rudd said the top up payments for disabled people who have already gone over won't come in until MPs vote on the process of transferring millions of other Universal Credit claimants onto the new system.

She wrote this was because the "transitional payments are inextricably linked to transitional protections".

Earlier this month she revealed she was going to pause the rollout to make sure she got Universal Credit right – and would only transfer 10,000 people over this year in a trial.

Today the SNP's Carol Monaghan MP demanded she make the changes now to ensure that Brits who have lost out get their cash back as soon as possible.

She blasted: "Amber Rudd could have initiated these back-payments immediately but she chose not to. It is absolutely outrageous that she is making these claimants wait month after month for money they are owed by the DWP.

"I wrote to the Secretary of State before Christmas and again in January calling on her to immediately initiate back-payments to the estimated 7000 people who have lost out on their Severe Disability Premium through natural migration.

"However, by linking this provision with the Managed Migration regulations which have yet to be debated, the UK government has effectively stalled this important back-payment to thousands of people.

"The UK government is trying to convince people that they are listening and making substantive changes to Universal Credit, when in reality the timetable for Managed Migration remains the same and people who have lost out will be waiting even longer for back-payments."

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