Universal Credit loophole closes – 200,000 people to get £350 at their state pension age
Some of the poorest pensioners are set to get a payout worth a total of £70million, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced today. All Universal Credit claimants who no longer get the benefit when they reach state pension age will receive an average one-off payment of £350.
- Universal Credit: Hardship payments are available
This is an estimated 200,000 people, who will automatically qualify for a run-on.
The measure is expected to cost around £70million over the next five years, the DWP said.
Previously, people moving between the benefits could face a wait of several weeks, leaving them low on cash.
Secretary of State, Thérèse Coffey said: “This top-up will ensure pensioners aren’t left in limbo when they’re waiting to get their state pension, with an average boost of £350.
“Since 2010 around 100,000 pensioners have moved out of poverty, thanks to policies such as the triple lock.”
Today, Ministers announced that the DWP will amend regulations to “smooth the transition from Universal Credit to pensioner benefits and remove any potential gap in support”.
Ministers said: “All those who reach state pension age while claiming Universal Credit will receive a run-on, meaning that they can receive a payment for the entire Assessment Period in which they reach state pension age.
“Entitlement to pensioner benefits and state pension is unaffected and continues as usual.
“This ensures there is no gap in benefit provision as people approach state pension age. This will benefit approximately 200,000 pensioners who will benefit by an average of £350 from this run-on at a cost of around £70 million over the next five years.
“This process is already in operation on an extra statutory basis, ensuring that nobody loses out upon reaching state pension age, and legislation will be amended accordingly later this year.”
Universal Credit is replacing six types of benefits, which are known as legacy benefits.
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Working Tax Credit
Currently, Universal Credit is open to new claimants, and exisiting benefits claimants who have had a change in circumstances.
A pilot scheme is currently underway in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, for the process of moving legacy benefits claimants who have not had a change in circumstances onto Universal Credit.
The Gov.uk website states that if a person currently gets any of the aforementioned legacy benefits, they do not need to do anything, unless:
- They have a change of circumstances you need to report
- The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacts them about moving to Universal Credit.
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