Moving home: ESA to Universal Credit

Artwork of mother and child under Universal Credit logo

Your benefit rights — if you have to move local authority area.

If you are in the Support Group of ESA and have to move out of your local authority area, your ESA is not protected anymore, you have to claim Universal Credit (UC).

We wanted to share some info you may not know — if you do have to move home, and go from ESA to UC as a “natural migrant”, you won’t start from basic level of UC and don’t have to do a new Work Capability Assessment.

If you are in the Support Group of ESA on the date you claim UC, you will be treated as being in the equivalent of Support Group (called Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity — LCWRA) ( Regulation 19 of UC (TP) Regs 2014 ) and the LCWRA addition should be included within your UC award from start of UC claim — under Reg 28 (5) (b) of the UC Regs 2013.

If you start your UC claim whilst the ESA award is being paid or within one month of the ESA award ending and still satisfy the severe disability premium criteria (living alone as the only adult and getting PIP), then you will be entitled to the transitional SDP element added to your Universal Credit, under Schedule 2 para 1 of the UC (TP) Regs 2014.

However, the transitional SDP element of £120 per month is still less than the previous severe disability premiums.

If you are in the Work-Related Activity Group of ESA, you will go into the equivalent group if moving to UC — Limited Capability for Work (LCW). Your UC work coach should adapt your claimant commitment to suit your needs. If you want to challenge what you are being asked to do, get advice and support.

Fleeing domestic violence. In addition, women who have experienced domestic violence within the past 6 months from notification to the DWP should have no work-related requirements imposed upon them for 13 weeks from the date they notified the DWP of the DV or threat of DV (Reg 98 UC Regs 2013). WinVisible adds: We always wanted more time for recovery for all women and children fleeing domestic violence, and around 2009, we lobbied for no set limit, together with Women Against Rape and others. Three months is the standard time, you can ask your work coach for more time.

Also, when starting a UC claim, you would be subject to the five-week wait, going into rent arrears, or would need to claim an advance which is taken off UC instalments later, so you would have less money.  Also the staff don’t necessarily know or pay attention to the rules above, so there may be problems initially to sort out. Disability Rights UK have pointed out various problems.

Children. If you have dependent children, we recommend to get advice before you start your Universal Credit claim. Depending on the situation, some additions for children are less money than for other benefits and there is a two-child limit applied to payments for children — see conditions here. However, Child Benefit is not part of UC and would just continue.

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