Retail trade union Usdaw is encouraging members to claim the social security benefits that they are entitled and to be cautious when voluntarily migrating from tax credits to Universal Credit.
The Government is re-starting the process of moving tax credit claimants onto Universal Credit, which was paused during the pandemic. Some people will be automatically migrated over when their circumstances change, but the Government is also encouraging people to voluntarily switch.
Claimants moved onto Universal Credit by the Government, in a process called ‘managed migration’, are entitled to transitional protection, which means their benefits income will not decrease. Whereas if a claimant moves voluntarily and finds they are worse off, there is no way to go back to tax credits and no entitlement to transitional protection.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Many low-paid workers already claim in-work tax credits or Universal Credit. With the cost of living crisis now being felt by millions, lots of people will be checking their entitlement as they struggle to makes ends meet.
“The Government is saying that tax credit claimants can be better off on Universal Credit, but we know that is not always the case. Each household’s situation is different and around a third of people will almost certainly be worse off under Universal Credit, than on tax credits, possibly more.
“So unless a claimant is absolutely sure they will be better off on Universal Credit, it is likely to be better to stay on tax credits and wait until they are migrated by the Department for Work & Pensions. We urge members to ‘look before you leap’ by contacting benefits experts, such as ‘Turn2Us’ or ‘Citizens Advice’, for some professional advice before switching.”