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Thread: Migration from ESA to Universal Credit - the facts.

  1. #1
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit - Explained.

    Scroll down or click these links for more info on:


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Here's a quick recap of what is happening with ESA and migration to Universal Credit at the moment.

    As of the current time: (September 2020).

    The whole country is now 'Full Service' Universal Credit for new Income Related benefit claims.
    (Any new claim for an Income Related benefit now has to be Universal Credit - Unless you have the SDP paid with a benefit, or did have it in the previous month)

    Nobody is being made to change from Income Related ESA to Universal Credit - yet.
    (This is called 'Managed Migration' and will happen, but it's not happening yet).
    (It started in July 2019 for a pilot of 10,000 claimants, it started with IR benefit claimants in Harrogate, it was put on hold because of Covid-19).

    Contribution Based ESA will not change to Universal Credit. All Contribution Based benefits stay outside of Universal Credit.
    (It is only Income Reated benefits that will migrate).

    It does not matter which ESA group you are in. - The only criteria is Income Related or Contribution Based.

    It is possible to have CB ESA with a Universal Credit top-up.
    (Just like you can have CB ESA with an IR ESA top-up).

    In the future those who change from IR ESA to Universal Credit by 'Managed Migration' will not get any less money.
    (There will be 'Trasitional Protection' to make sure you don't get any less money than your ESA and other IR benefits as a total).

    BUT

    You can be changed from Income Related ESA to Universal Credit if you have a 'Change of Circumstances'.
    This is called 'Natural Migration'.

    This CANNOT happen currently if you have, or are entitled to the Severe Disability Premium on any benefit.
    (SDP with any one of ESA, IS, JSA, or HB currently blocks you from claiming UC).

    Not all 'Changes of Circumstances' will trigger a migration to Universal Credit.
    (For instance a change of health circumstances that moves you from WRAG to SG, or vice-versa, should not trigger a migration to Universal Credit).

    It will only happen if you need to make a brand new claim for an Income Related benefit.
    (For example if you are claiming HB but move to a house to a different local authority area you will have to claim UC-Housing Element in the new area, a brand new claim).
    (If you move house in the same Local Authority area this does not apply, you can stay on HB. It only applies if you move to a different Local Authority).

    Contribution Based 'New Style' ESA WRAG ending after 365 days is a 'Change of Circumstances' that also counts.
    This is because after 365 days CB are over you technically have to make a new claim for Income Related benefit. So this would have to be a new UC claim.

    There is no 'Transitional Protection' for 'Natural Migration' by a change of circumstances, but new laws means you should not end up with less money.
    You could end up with substantially more, it all depends on your individual circumstances.
    See Will I be worse off on UC than ESA?
    You need to check carefully before considering any house move, particularlarly you housing costs and any Council Tax Relief which may be different at the new house.


    Those are the main points about migration from ESA to Universal credit at the current time.
    Obviously it does not cover all the little wrinkles, that would just get too long and complicated.

    And yes, the DWP have and still are making some wrong decisions about it. (They always do with something new).
    They are getting better at it though as they get more familiar with UC.
    If they do get something wrong then of course you can still ask for MR and appeal.

    This thread will be kept closed to posts, to keep it clear of distractions, but I will try to keep it up to date.
    Last edited by nukecad; 14-09-20 at 03:33. Reason: Updated September 2020 (FFW MRs)

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Moving House and Universal Credit.

    Will moving house mean that I have to claim Universal Credit instead of ESA?

    If you have SDP with any benefit then you cannot claim UC in any circumstances.
    If you don't have SDP then:

    If you already claim HB and move within your current Local Authority you can stay on your current benefits.
    If you are already claiming Housing Benefit with them you can keep claiming it even for a different property.
    This DWP memo, A7/2018, issued to Local Authorities in September 2018 explains it.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/public...al-authorities
    See in particular paragraphs 9 and 10. (my highlighting)
    Change of address within an LA area

    9. If an existing HB claimant moves home within the same LA area, a new HB claim is not required and LAs may continue to award HB based upon the change of circumstances. A claim to UC is not needed if the claimant moves house within the same LA area.

    10. It is only when a claimant moves out of the LA boundary that an HB award ends and a new HB claim would have to be made but is prevented by the UCFS rules. This means that a UC claim must be made for housing costs instead.
    Certain 'Sheltered' or 'Supported' housing can also still claim HB - but check that carefully, not all sheltered/supported housing qualifies there has to be a level of care included.
    'Emergency' accommodation, eg. if you are evicted/homeless, may also be HB rather than UC.

    Making a new claim for UC housing element will mean that any existing IR ESA award (and any other IR benefit) would be 'Naturally' migrated into UC as well.
    ESA would be migrated to UC with a Limited Capability for Work element, or a Limited Capability for Work Related Activity element.

    This should not trigger a new Work Capability Assessment on it's own, but you will still have to have your regular reassessments just like anyone with LCW or LCWRA.

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    Last edited by nukecad; 14-09-20 at 03:39. Reason: updated

  3. #3
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Will I need to have a new Work Capability Assessment if I Migrate to UC?

    If you have SDP with any benefit then you cannot claim UC in any circumstances. (Until you are Managed Migrated).
    If you don't have SDP then:

    You do not need to be reassessed just because you Migrate from ESA to Universal Credit.

    You may need to be reassessed though if your health circumstances have changed, or if you were due for a reassessment anyway.

    It's quite rare for the Jobcentres/UC to get this wrong now, but it may still happen that they say you need to be reassessed just because you migrated.
    (Some of them still don't seem to understand that a 'Prognosis date' is not an 'end of award date').

    THAT IS WRONG.
    The DWP have argued that this is not against the law because the primary legislation says that they can reassess at anytime.
    However UC legislation says that they should not reassess just because someone has been migrated to UC.

    Insisting that you have to be reassessed before they will migrate your ESA Limited Capability element into UC is against the law.

    The Legal bit-
    "The Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014" Regulation 19 clearly states that if you are migrating from ESA WRAG or ESA SG to Universal Credit then you should automatically be awarded the UC equivalent (UC-LCW or UC-LCWRA) with no need for a new assessment.

    Transition from old style ESA
    19.
    —(1) This regulation applies where–
    (a) an award of universal credit is made to a claimant who was entitled to old
    style ESA on the date on which the claim for universal credit was made or
    treated as made (“the relevant date”); and
    (b) on or before the relevant date it had been determined that the claimant was
    entitled to the work-related activity component or to the support component.


    (2) Where, on or before the relevant date, it had been determined that the claimant
    was entitled to the work-related activity component

    (a) regulation 27(3) of the Universal Credit Regulations (award to include LCW
    and LCWRA elements) does not apply; and
    (b) the claimant is to be treated as having limited capability for work for the
    purposes of regulation 27(1)(a) of those Regulations and section 21(1)(a) of
    the Act.


    (3) Unless the assessment phase applied and had not ended at the relevant date(a),
    in relation to a claimant who is treated as having limited capability for work under
    paragraph (2)–
    (a) regulation 28 of the Universal Credit Regulations (period for which the LCW
    or LCWRA element is not to be included) does not apply; and
    (b) the LCW element is (subject to the provisions of Part 4 of the Universal
    Credit Regulations) to be included in the award with effect from the beginning
    of the first assessment period.

    (4) Where, on or before the relevant date, it had been determined that the claimant
    was entitled to the support component–

    (a) regulation 27(3) of the Universal Credit Regulations does not apply; and
    (b) the claimant is to be treated as having limited capability for work and workrelated
    activity for the purposes of regulation 27(1)(b) of those Regulations
    and section 19(2)(a) of the Act.


    Continues...
    (My higlighting in red).
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2..._311216_en.pdf
    End of Legal bit.

    If you migrate and they say you must be reassessed before getting a Limited Capability element paid with your UC to you then:
    • Politely tell them that they are wrong, ask to talk to a supervisor, and quote that regulation 19 at them.
    • If they still won't listen then ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration, (they will tell you there is no MR because they have not made a decision, again bullshine), - insist that they have made a decision not to award you a Limited Capability element and you want to challenge that decision.
    • If they grant the MR then again quote that regulation 19 at them, in writing.
    • If they still won't grant an MR then it's time for appeal, and a written complaint to DWP, (and your MP).


    Of course if they send you a UC50 anyway then there is not a lot that you can do other than fill it in and send it back.
    Once the reassessment process has started you can't stop it.

    You should still MR/appeal to get the element added from the start of your UC claim if they haven't added it from then.

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    Last edited by nukecad; 14-09-20 at 03:44. Reason: Line regarding MRs removed.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    What happens if I am found Fit-for-Work following Assessment/Reassessment?

    In June 2020 a High Court Judicial Review ruled that Mandatory Reconsiderations of ESA Fit-for-Work decisions are unlawful.
    This is because the DWP would not pay ESA during FFW MR's.

    The ruling does not apply to any other MRs.
    The ruling does not apply to UC FFW's, because UC would continue to be paid without a break during the MR.

    This ruling applies to all ESA Work Capability Assessments's, new claims and reassessments.
    (It does not apply in the special case of if you are found FFW for the second time in a row, ie. a reclaim for CB ESA after already being refused once).

    It only applies to ESA Fit-for-Work decisions, it does not apply to failure to return the ESA50 or failure to attend the WCA.

    So what does that mean in practice?

    It means that if you are found Fit-for-Work following an ESA Work Capability Assessment then you can appeal to the tribunal straightaway, without waiting for a DWP reconsideration.

    Which also means that ESA can again be paid straightaway at 'Assessment Rate' (Personal allowance with no group component) whilst awaiting tribunal, without having to wait for a MR to be done first.
    You will need to supply Fit Notes to be paid ESA during this period.

    Alternatively if you qualify for Income Related benefit then you could claim UC whilst awaiting tribunal, telling them that you are appealing an ESA FFW decision.
    If you do that then you cannot go back to Income Related ESA, but the tribunals ruling on Limited Capability for Work would be applied both to the ESA before you claimed UC and, backdated, to the start of your UC claim.
    If you are appealing against a FFW decision on Contribution Based ESA then that could be reinstated alongside the UC.

    Why would you want to claim UC, rather than assessment rate ESA, in those circumstances?
    • Everybody with IR ESA will be migrated to UC in the coming years anyway, so why not get it over with now while you have the chance?
    • If you tell them when claiming UC that you are waiting for an ESA MR/appeal then they won't make you do any jobsearching, and should not refer you for a new WCA. (There is now a question where they ask about that on the UC application).
    • You can, and should, ask for your UC claim to be backdated to the date that the FFW decision stopped ESA.
    • The amount you will get paid with UC Standard Rate is currently higher that you would get with ESA Assessment Rate whilst waiting for MR/appeal.
      Remember though that if you have the SDP, or had it with ESA in the last month, then you cannot claim UC.
    • If you win at MR or appeal than that decision will automatically get added to the UC as an LCW/LCWRA element and your money reinstated as it would have been with ESA. It would also be backpaid.
    • Any other Income Related benefit you have (Housing Benefit, etc.) will be migrated to UC when you claim it, no need to change those to low income grounds. (Again this will happen anyway in a couple of years).
    • If there is any question about whether ESA would be paid during appeal, because of a previous fit for work decision, this becomes irrelevant. UC will be paid anyway.
    • If you should lose at MR/appeal then you are already on UC and it would just continue to be paid, as a jobseeker. No need to make a new claim.

    The big difference will be that you get paid monthly instead of fortnightly, and that all your IR claims are in one place so you don't need to deal with different departments, and any future changes to your circumstances are much easier to deal with.

    Which you choose to do will depend on your personal circumstances and Finances.
    I suggest that you check carefully how claiming UC would affect you.
    See a benefits adviser, use one of the online benefit checkers, or ask on the forum, we'll need details of what you claim already.
    In particular Council Tax Relief can be a problem with some councils, and you may have to pay more Council Tax if you claim UC. (Unfortunately we can't realy advise about that, you'll need to ask your particular council or a local to you benefits adviser. The online calculators can usually also cope with that).

    Always bear in mind that if your tribunal fails then you will have to start a Universal Credit claim anyway.

    Also remember that if you are found FFW your council will be told and your HB and CTR will stop.
    So you may need to get those reinstated whether you stay on ESA or claim UC while waiting for appeal.

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    Last edited by nukecad; 14-09-20 at 03:41. Reason: Updated in light of High Court ruling

  5. #5
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Getting an Advance Payment of UC

    Government info. on getting a UC advance payment.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-advances

    That is kept updated if/when things change.

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    Last edited by nukecad; 23-01-19 at 07:41.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Can you get free prescriptions with Universal Credit?

    The quick answer is yes, but only if you have low or no other earnings, a child element, or a Limited Capability element.
    (UC can be paid to wage earners, so free healthcare is not an automatic entitlement for all UC claimants).

    https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/help-nhs-p...iversal-credit
    If you’re getting Universal Credit, your entitlement to free NHS prescriptions depends on your earnings for the most recent assessment period. You’re entitled if your earnings during that period were:

    • £435 or less
    • £935 or less if your Universal Credit includes an element for either:
      • a child
      • limited capability for work


    ‘Most recent assessment period’ means the assessment period that ended immediately before the date you claim free NHS prescriptions. It runs for a calendar month.
    Note that there is no box on the back of the prescription to tick for Universal Credit:
    The patient declaration on the prescription form does not yet include Universal Credit. You should tick the Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance box and show your Universal Credit award notice as proof that you’re entitled.
    EDIT- A tickbox for UC is now included on the latest forms, but you may still get an older form.

    Here's a link to the NHS Choices page about UC and health costs:
    https://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Health...al-credit.aspx

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    Last edited by nukecad; 02-06-20 at 21:54.

  7. #7
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    What about Permitted Work?

    There is no concept of Permitted Work with Universal Credit.

    UC is a benefit that can be paid if you are working or not.

    What happens is that any earnings above your 'Work Allowance' are deducted from your UC at 63 pence in the pound.
    (ie. For every pound earned over your Work Allowance, loose 63p of your UC)

    If you have a Limited Cabability element, (either LCW or LCWRA), then your Work Allowance (from April 2020) will be:
    • £512 if you don't have a Housing element included with your UC.
    • £292 if you do have a Housing element included with your UC.

    So if you have a Limited Capability element you can work and earn those amounts without it affecting your UC.

    Always remember that any work that you do may have an effect on your next WCA if it contradicts the reasons for your Limited Capability.

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    Last edited by nukecad; 02-06-20 at 21:50. Reason: Allowance updated for 2020

  8. #8
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Will I be worse off on UC than ESA?

    In a straight migration from IR ESA to UC you will always get the same or more with UC-LCW/LCWRA than you did with ESA.

    Other IR benefits may have to be taken into consideration though.

    This is a simple comparison of the IR ESA and Universal Credit rates for a single person over 25 with Limited Capability who is migrated to UC.

    If you are 'Naturally Migrated' now to UC, you will get more money for UC-LCW/LCWRA than you do with IR ESA.
    NOTE- Since 16th Jan. 2019 you cannot be 'Naturally Migrated' if you have the SDP with any benefit. (You cannot claim UC at all if you have SDP).

    If/when you are 'Managed Migrated', sometime after July 2019, then your money (from all IR benefits) is guaranteed not to decrease.

    This comparision does not show Housing element, Carers element, Child element, Work Allowance, or anything else UC.
    There would be too many variables to do all that.

    I am using 52.143 weeks per year to calculate UC weekly equivalents. (365/7 - Ignoring leap years).

    NOTE- This comparision includes the covid uprating that was applied to UC Standard rate.

    ESA rates: (2020/2021)
    Personal allowance = 74.35
    WRAG component = 29.55 (Not paid if you first claimed after April 2017).
    SG component = 39.20
    EDP = 17.10
    SDP = 66.95

    UC rates:
    Personal allowance = 409.89
    LCW element = 128.25
    LCWRA element = 341.92

    Results:
    ESA Group
    + premium(s)
    ESA
    Weekly amount
    £
    UC
    Weekly equiv.
    £
    Weekly Difference if
    Naturally Migrated
    (Now)
    Weekly Difference if
    Managed Migration
    (Whenever that starts)
    WRAG
    (After Apr 2017)
    74.35 94.33 +19.98 +19.98
    WRAG
    (pre Apr 2017)
    103.90 123.85 +19.95 +19.95
    WRAG+EDP+SDP
    (After Apr 2017)
    158.40 94.33 Migration Blocked No Diff. (Protected)
    WRAG+EDP+SDP
    (Pre Apr 2017)
    187.95 123.85 Migration Blocked No Diff. (Protected)
    SG no premiums 113.55 Contribution Based. Remains ESA. Not migrated.
    SG+EDP 130.65 173.02 +42.37 +42.37
    SG+EDP+SDP 197.60 173.02 Migration Blocked No Diff. (Protected)

    As you can see if Natural Migration would leave you worse off it is now blocked and you can't claim UC.
    When it comes time for Managed Migration that is protected and so you will not be worse off.


    SG only is aways Contribution Based, if there is an IR entitlement then it gets the EDP automatically.
    It is not possible to get WRAG+EDP(only), you would qualify for SDP as well.

    CB ESA stays outside of UC.
    If you have CB ESA with an IR top-up (premium) then the CB stays outside and the IR top-up (premium) becomes a UC top-up.
    If this applies (CB ESA with a UC top-up) then whatever is paid as CB ESA is deducted from your 'standard' UC LCW/LCWRA payment, leaving the same payment overall.

    If you want to then when it comes time to migrate to UC you could close your CB ESA claim altogether and just claim UC instead.
    If you did that you then only have the one claim to deal with, but any savings/capital or income that wouldn't affect CB ESA will affect the UC.

    If you have already been Naturally Migrated UC and have lost the SDP because of that then there will be 'Compensation' for what you have already lost, plus a 'Transitional Payment' added to your ongoing UC payments.
    See 'Compenastion for lost SDP' below.


    Remember that this is only a simple comparison for a single person, other elements of UC may come into play depending on your circumstances.
    Use one of the online benefit calculators to check your full circumstances and benefits.

    There may also be a change to any Council Tax Relief that you get once you have migrated to UC.
    As this is under the control of each council, and each council has different rules, it is impossible to say here just how that might affect you.

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    Last edited by nukecad; 26-08-20 at 02:00. Reason: Rates updated to 2020/2021 in cluding Covid uprating of UC

  9. #9
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Block on claiming UC if you have SDP.

    As from the 16th January 2019 the law has changed so that you can no longer claim Universal Credit if you have SDP. You will be able to claim 'Legacy' benefits instead.

    The block on those with SDP claiming UC is done by means of a 'Gateway Condition' which will block Natural Migration to UC if you have SDP.
    There is also a clause allowing legacy benefits, such as Housing Benefit, to still be claimed if this applies to you.

    If you have already migrated to UC and so lost your SDP see the next post:

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    Last edited by nukecad; 26-07-19 at 08:42. Reason: New legislation July 2019.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Compensation for lost SDP.

    LATEST July 2019-

    New legislation has been passed and gives details of what those who lost SDP due to Natural Migration will be paid as a "transitional SDP amount" (that's what they are calling it).
    The amounts are as follows:

    Single claimant:
    1. £120 If you have LCWRA in your UC.
    2. £285 If you don't have LCWRA in your UC.

    Joint claimants:
    1. £405 if you had Higher SDP (both entitled) and no person has has become a carer for either of you since you claimed UC.
    2. £120 If (1) doesn't apply and you have LCWRA in your UC.
    3. £285 If (1) doesn't apply and you don't have LCWRA in your UC.

    The above amounts are conditional on no one having become a carer for you since you claimed UC.

    There is also a clause about if you didn't have LCWRA after migration but were awarded it later.

    These figures are still woefully short of what has been lost during Natural Migration (and what will be protected/given during Managed Migration).

    In the simplest case of a single claimant with SDP they will have lost £190.28 a month, the TA in the legislation is £120.
    Which still leaves a shortfall of £70.28.
    That shortfall is roughly the EDP, which has been left out entirely and is not being compensated for.
    (But the gov. can trumpet that they are compensating for the SDP and all is well).

    They are supposed to be already processing these transitional SDP additions, and backpayments.

    However this compensation still does not comply with last years High Court ruling which said that the disparity in TA/TP between Natural Migration and Managed Migration is unlawful, (ie. the protection should be the same for both), so expect it to be back in court again.

    GO TO TOP

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    NOTE: This thread will be kept closed to avoid distraction.

    If you do find it Open it is because I am updating or adding something.

    Please do not post here.
    Last edited by nukecad; 26-07-19 at 08:45.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

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