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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit migration  →  Thread

DWP plans for both managed move to UC and voluntary move to UC

Daphne
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We’ve started having monthly meetings to update us on where the DWP is at with both managed and voluntary move to UC - these are my notes from today - DWP info in black, questions/observations in red.

If you have any comments/observations/questions do let me know and I can feed in - will update each month…

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Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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Don’t think I understand the role of claimant motivations in the managed migration process. (‘Leave me alone’ springs to mind.)

Learning by doing is all very well but what safeguards exist to protect the subjects of the learning process.

The issue raised about debt recovery is hugely significant. See thread elsewhere by Andrew about the heavy handed approach taken by Debt Management. The appearance of an unknown debt completely undermines any careful assessment of the merits of switching to UC.

I don’t understand why it would be necessary to make a new claim for CTR.

[ Edited: 13 Jan 2022 at 04:31 pm by Ianb ]
Daphne
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Thanks Ian - I raised the question about CTR - surely just change of circs - I guess notification might go from legacy to CTR when benefit ceases but I presume just suspension while they get new info - I can’t see how they can require a new claim - but interested to know if any local authorities are doing that

Timothy Seaside
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My local authority has been routinely ending CTR claims whenever somebody makes a new claim for UC. I have been querying it for years and asking them to explain how it can be lawful - I can’t see anything in our CTR scheme to suggest it is. I’ve never had an answer, but last year I noticed that they didn’t seem to be doing it in every case any more. I am not aware of anything in the legislation that would stop a local authority from including something like that in their CTR scheme (although there might be public law questions about whether it was reasonable). But whether it’s in the scheme or not, I suspect it comes about mainly because CTR and HB are likely to be run on the same system and so a UC stop notice just stops everything.

Vonny
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Could they learn from people facing natural migration and use them as the first managed migration cases, they will know when a youngest child is reaching 5, so test on this group who will have had limited contact with jobcentre.

[ Edited: 14 Jan 2022 at 09:47 am by Vonny ]
Ianb
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Timothy Seaside - 13 January 2022 04:34 PM

..whether it’s in the scheme or not, I suspect it comes about mainly because CTR and HB are likely to be run on the same system and so a UC stop notice just stops everything.

That sounds highly plausible.  One of those ‘Computer says No’ situations.

Question then arises how will DWP (who are not responsible for CTR) ensure that claimants know they need to make new claims - and if they do, assuming they can’t make a new one until they are on UC and the old CTR claim is closed, will claimants be able to backdate the new CTR claim to be continuous with the old one.

As an aside, as many (most?) councils take information from UC to inform CTR awards the administration of CTR claims will be simpler for claimants with fluctuating incomes.

Timothy Seaside
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Ianb - 13 January 2022 05:28 PM

Question then arises how will DWP (who are not responsible for CTR) ensure that claimants know they need to make new claims - and if they do, assuming they can’t make a new one until they are on UC and the old CTR claim is closed, will claimants be able to backdate the new CTR claim to be continuous with the old one.

As an aside, as many (most?) councils take information from UC to inform CTR awards the administration of CTR claims will be simpler for claimants with fluctuating incomes.

There is a question in the UC application about whether the claimant has claimed CTR, or whether they are going to. DWP can then notify the LA that the person has shown an interest. I saw a case recently where a tenant had applied for UC, and our CTR system was showing a claim registered so I thought the tenant must have applied*. But it turned out that the claim was registered on the basis of UC information - which I hadn’t ever noticed happening before. On the point about a potential break in entitlement, our UC CTR claimants have always been given a month after they apply for UC to make their CTR claim - then it is treated as being made at the same time as UC. Otherwise there is no backdating in our scheme. There are a lot of people who don’t reapply and so end up with huge amounts of CT debt that they could not conceivably afford to pay. Of course these might end up as third party deductions from UC.

Frankly I think it is a mess. But I should probably be careful about how frank I am about our CTR scheme (I really don’t like it).

Edit: *They didn’t have a pre-existing claim for CTR.

[ Edited: 13 Jan 2022 at 05:49 pm by Timothy Seaside ]
Jon (CHDCA)
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TP calculation in Harrogate was clerical so digital version needs to be designed

I suspect that automating this will be difficult ... Would be interested to know how (or if) this calculation will be presented to the claimant, so that it can be checked/challenged.

Assuming CTR does ‘stop’ for some reason when legacy bens end, there seems to be a variety of approaches from LAs on whether it should automatically start whenever UC is awarded (previously). I don’t think UC will be able to give much standard advice on what claimants should do. E.g., Ryedale council say:

If you have successfully applied for Universal Credit and told us that you pay Council Tax, you will not need to apply for Council Tax Support. That’s because we’ll have been told about this already. However, we ask you to please email benefits with your national insurance number and name, so that your claim can be monitored.

whereas Ribble Valley say:

Failure to complete a claim form for Council Tax Support will result in you paying full Council Tax. For more information see the Council Tax Support Scheme.

You will need to provide us with your Universal Credit award letter when you first receive it and provide the notification each time the award is changed.

Andrew Dutton
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The time estimate seems hopeless, unachievable. How do they reconcile their projected 2024 date with the OBR’s 2026 estimate?

How can it all get done in such a short time if they are still ‘learning’ and still designing notices? Oh look - no digital calculation for TP.

Why should we grant this any credibility, since UC should have been done and dusted by late 2017 according to DWP’s original overconfident plans?

If they really are going to complete by 2024, why have the ‘Voluntary Move’ as well? Won’t this do considerable harm to some claimants? If DWP insist on going ahead, why can’t/won’t they offer TP? Why put people at risk?

Or - DWP should either give people a carefully worked-out better-off calculation, including what debts will be taken, or leave them be.

UC is still being exploited by clever fraudsters. Has DWP examined its latest plans and examined where fraud could happen? What is it going to do when fraud inevitably pops up where it was ‘impossible’?

What help will be given to vulnerable and/or hard to reach claimants? Has DWP ever spoken to Adult Care services across the country to discuss how their clients may be supported? (I suggest they probably haven’t even though it was suggested ages ago, and the notes imply they have barely thought about this)

How will DWP stop ‘help’ being offered to vulnerable people by unscrupulous types who will then make off with their money or even take a regular monthly sum from people for ‘helping’ with digital access etc etc?

This all reads like something which should have been considered in detail 4-5 years ago.

‘I prophesy disaster/And then I count the cost….’ (Van Der Graaf Generator ) 


 


[ Edited: 14 Jan 2022 at 04:21 pm by Andrew Dutton ]
Ianb
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Andrew Dutton - 14 January 2022 03:21 PM

‘I prophesy disaster/And then I count the cost….’ (Van Der Graaf Generator )

“.. and know that I am almost lost ” - which may be the feeling many claimants experience.
Haven’t put them on my dusty old timetable for years - must go and rummage.

Re CTR. Here in Bristol UC claimants are asked if they want help with Council Tax and if they say yes their UC claim is treated by Bristol as a claim for CTR.
“If you have made a claim for Universal Credit and requested help with your council tax

If you have claimed Universal Credit and asked for help with your council tax, the Department for Work and Pensions will send a notification to us.

From 1 April 2021, this notification will be treated as an application for Council Tax Reduction. We will make a decision and make a payment to your council tax account if we have enough information to do so. 

We’ll contact you if we need any more information or evidence, or if we decide that an application form needs to be completed.”

I wonder what will happen if someone already gets CTR but doesn’t answer yes to the question.

[ Edited: 14 Jan 2022 at 04:36 pm by Ianb ]
Paul Stockton
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Daphne - 13 January 2022 03:35 PM

We’ve started having monthly meetings to update us on where the DWP is at with both managed and voluntary move to UC - these are my notes from today - DWP info in black, questions/observations in red.

If you have any comments/observations/questions do let me know and I can feed in - will update each month…

Anyone who has ever been involved in a project will recall how it invariably starts with a workshop where all the points anyone can think of are written on post-it notes and stuck on a whiteboard, and at the end the luckless junior member of the team has the chore of transcribing them all into a single document. These notes from the meeting read exactly like that. A project of this kind should not be at that rudimentary stage - as Andrew Dutton said, this should all have been thought about 4-5 years ago. Yet the idea is that in 12 months time the DWP will be in a position to migrate over 2 years - how many people? 3 million? - to UC, when those people are going to be mainly long-term sick and disabled , many with serious mental health issues. What could possibly go wrong?

For future meetings can I suggest that Daphne asks if there was ever a Lessons Learned report from the DLA to PIP migration and if there was, what lessons are being applied here? And innocently ask when the group will be seeing the project plan, the risk register, the stakeholder management plan, and the communications plan?