DBC responds to Baroness Buscombe’s comments on sector support for managed migration

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14th January 2019

Dear Secretary of State,

Re: Universal Credit Managed Migration

Following recent comments in the House of Lords, we write to clarify and emphasise the view of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) (which represents over 80 disability organisations) as regards the managed migration process.

The “70 stakeholders” referred to by Baroness Buscombe in the debate on 8 January (Lords Hansard, cols. 2123-4) include a number of DBC members. We are therefore concerned that Baroness Buscombe’s comment – “Why do 70 different stakeholders want to work with us if they condemn what we are trying to achieve?” – seems to imply that these stakeholders support the “stop-start” approach that currently characterises the managed migration proposals. This is not the case and we are disappointed at this suggestion.

The view taken by the DBC and its members has clearly and consistently been that:

a.) we believe there should be an orderly transition whereby existing legacy benefit claims are converted to UC claims through a review process (we do not accept that this is not possible); and

b.) failing this, we will nevertheless work with the DWP to try to minimise the problems of stop-start and maximise the number of claimants able to transfer without mishap.

Clearly, this willingness to engage does not imply that we support stop-start. We do not, and shall continue to press for an orderly, review-based approach. Meanwhile, we hope to get as near to this as possible in ongoing discussions with the Department.

I hope this serves to clarify our approach. We are making this letter public, so as to help dispel any misapprehension regarding the DBC’s position on these matters.

Yours faithfully,

Signed by co-Chairs of the Disability Benefits Consortium:

Anastacia Berry – MS Society

Beatrice Barleon – Royal Mencap Society

Geoff Fimister – Thomas Pocklington Trust

Hannah West – Motor Neurone Disease Association

Katie Lee-Hall– MS Society

Rob Holland – Royal Mencap Society

 

cc Baroness Buscombe

 

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DBC responds to Amber Rudd statement on UC

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The DBC welcomes today’s confirmation that the Government is intending to take time to get the migration process for Universal Credit right.

However, if they intend to achieve this, we believe there will need to be a change of approach. We urge the Government to move away from the “sink or swim” approach to “managed migration” still currently proposed. We would like to see an orderly changeover through a review of existing benefit awards.

Ideally, too, all current transfers from old benefits to Universal Credit should be paused while problems are fixed.

The Government must now focus on how it can support people through this process so that no one falls through the safety net.

The Secretary of State has clearly indicated that she wants to address some of the deep concerns that have been raised in relation to UC. We therefore urge her to also address the cuts to disability benefits that are inherent to UC. These cuts are already a source of extreme concern so everything must be done to ensure people are not left worse off.

DBC response to Work and Pensions Committee report on Universal Credit

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19 December 2018

The DBC welcomes the Committee’s report which confirms the disability sector’s concerns with Universal Credit and the potentially disastrous consequences for disabled people if the Government gets the transition to UC wrong.

The DBC has long argued that the cuts to the disability premiums must be reversed and that disabled claimants, who have not yet undergone a Work Capability Assessment must have their disability recognised in what the work coaches require them to do, and in the payments they receive.

The DBC has also long warned of the ‘sink or swim’ approach of managed migration proposed by the Government.

In line with the Committee the DBC is therefore calling on the Government to do much more to ensure that the migration process is indeed an orderly transition and that disabled people are pro-actively supported through the process and nobody will lose their benefits as a result of migrating to UC.

DBC statement on Universal Credit Managed Migration regulations

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Today (5th November) the Government has laid regulations concerning ‘managed migration’.

A statement from the DBC is below:

“DBC is pleased that Ministers have listened to the serious concerns raised by the disability sector over ‘managed migration’ and have taken action to address some of these.

We welcome the Secretary of State’s desire to work with claimants and charities to improve the process as well as the announcement that disabled people will have a longer time to make a Universal Credit claim before their legacy benefits are terminated.

 However, the ‘stop start’ approach remains and large numbers could still fall through the gaps. We would like to see an orderly process of migration, whereby claimants remain on their “legacy benefits” until a UC claim is in place

 Furthermore, much work is needed to ensure that the application process is accessible and appropriate support is available to complete what is a very complex process.

Finally, the Government cannot escape the fact that close to a million disabled people will be worse off on UC by more than £200 a month despite the measures announced in the budget and we would like to see these losses reversed.”

DBC response to Budget 2018

There is widespread concern across the disability sector over both the cuts to Universal Credit (UC) as well as how it is being implemented.

The Chancellor has responded in the budget in part by increasing work allowances by £1,000 per year to “benefit 2.4 million working families with children and people with disabilities by £630 per year”.

While this is clearly welcome news for those in work, the Budget has done nothing to alleviate the disability sector’s concerns about disabled people being worse off under Universal Credit. With the benefit freeze remaining as well as there being no change to the cuts to the disability premiums under UC close to a million disabled people, a huge number of whom are not in work, will still be worse off under UC by an average of over £2600 a year after transitional protection has been exhausted.

The Chancellor also announced that going forward  there will be a ‘2-week run-on’ of means-tested Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support which will reduce the gap without an income for some, although only from July 2020 onwards.

Again, this is a welcome step in the right direction. However, we remain concerned that disabled people will still end up having to go without financial support for a number of weeks as a result of migrating onto UC.

We are also deeply alarmed by the Chancellor’s confirmation that regulations would still be laid soon to enable managed migration from legacy benefits to the new UC without any further guarantees being given that the regulations will be amended to ensure that there is no risk for disabled people to lose their benefits in the process.

The DBC has been lobbying the Government for some time to ensure that disabled people’s benefits are not terminated until a successful application for UC has been made and the right support is in place for those who need it.

 

 

Universal Credit survey launched!

Today the Disability Benefits Consortium has launched a Universal Credit survey #UCandme so that we can find out more about the experiences of disabled people and people with long term health conditions.

Universal Credit is a new benefit which is being introduced in the UK. It will replace 6 benefits including Employment and Support Allowance.

It will affect hundreds of thousands of disabled people across the country.

Universal Credit has been in the news a lot recently as there are concerns about how it is being rolled out and the amount of money people will receive.

Take our Universal Credit Survey

If you have applied for Universal Credit or tried to apply – we want to hear from you!

By adding your voice, you’ll join thousands of other disabled people and people with long-term health conditions in helping us lobby the Government and campaign for a fairer benefits system.

Please share as widely as possible and promote on social media using:

#UCandme

We think the survey takes about 20 minutes to complete and the results will be anonymous. This means that your name will not appear in any reports that we produce.

If you would like to complete the survey over the phone please contact  Rony Erez on 020 3828 6850. For other alternative formats, please contact us here

Published 31st October 2018

DBC responds to consultation on Universal Credit draft regulations

The DBC has responded to a consultation by the Social Security Advisory Committee concerning draft regulations published by the Government on their proposals for “managed migration” i.e. the moving of existing claimants of a working age income-related benefit to Universal Credit (UC).

The DBC believes that the Government should not proceed with “managed migration” to UC until the many outstanding problems have been analysed and addressed.

“Managed migration” will affect around three million people (over two million claimants and their families) and as matters stand, it seems certain that large numbers will experience serious difficulties.

You can read the full response by the DBC here:

DBC (2018.08) (UC draft Managed Migration regs. – SSAC consultation)