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Universal Credit Loophole Closes – 200,000 People To Get £350 At Their State Pension Age

March 9, 2020

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.

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.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “It’s really good news that the Government is making this change so people will no longer be left in a position where they can wait several weeks without money when moving from Universal Credit to state pension.”

David Samson, Welfare Benefits Specialist at Turn2us, commented: “We welcome any government measure that helps people on low incomes, especially those who are most vulnerable.

“With this top-up payment, the DWP have just demonstrated the willingness and ability to address the sudden financial shortfall people reaching pension age would experience, during the period they are moved between benefits.

“As well as for pensioners, Turn2us hopes the department extends this practice of financial relief to also ensure that the millions of people – with little to no income – aren’t left dangling over the five week wait for their first Universal Credit payment.

“The current Universal Credit advances, all too readily offered to claimants to bridge that five week wait, are ill-considered and lumber many people already experiencing financial hardship with unmanageable debt.”

Universal Credit is replacing six types of benefits, which are known as legacy benefits.

These are:

  • 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 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.

In the past, the state pension age was 60 for women and 65 for men, however it is currently rising.

The age reached 65 for both men and women in November 2018, and it is currently increasing further – reaching 66 in October 2020 ahead of further rises to 67 and then 68 under current government plans.

It’s possible to check one’s state pension age online, using the ‘Check your State Pension age’ tool on the government website.

In addiiton to finding out a person’s state pension age, this service also allows a person to check their Pension Credit qualifying age, and when they’ll be eligible for free bus travel.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Averil A Wood permalink
    March 9, 2020 4:11 pm

    The present Government has displayed an almost spiteful attitude to so many people who need help, often through no fault of their own, collectively they have made the most damning and damaging decisions, all skillfully designed to drastically reduce the accessibility of the changes to payments and allowances, What they’ve achieved spectacularly is their own lack of knowledge of how many people need to live, often through no fault of their own, on Government were in charge of the sumsvery limited incomes. They have spurned the poor and disabled, this in turn reduces hope and ambition for their future and has caused massive increases in mental ill health, particuliarly in depressive conditions whilst staff, resources, beds have dwindled to almost nothing. Almost with malice afore thought, the MP’s have been awarded a massive increase in their pay and have made announcenents of massive future capital spending, I personally have paid NHS contributions for 70 years, as have my former employers, believing that I was paying an Insurance Policy, treatment free at the point of need but possibly never needed. Whilst there were clearly modifications needed some times but the Government fixed the rates, we paid them, never knowing that sometime in the future, we would be accused of being scroungers and now denied lifesaving treatment
    I now think the greedy Tory Party owes the public an enormous apology – they got it wrong and enied they did.

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