Major shake up of Universal Credit rules could see half a million lose payment worth £400 a month | The Sun

HALF a million households on Universal Credit face losing a major top-up under a shake up of the rules.

It's feared that 516,100 could have their limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) payments stopped.

These face losing £390.06 each month, which is the typical amount awarded to people who have a limited capability for work, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Under new plans, work capability assessments will be scrapped and LCWRA replaced by a new Universal Credit 'Health Element'.

But to qualify, households would need to meet the eligibility criteria for personal independent payments (PIP).

Right now, these claimants have to undergo a work capability assessment (WCA) to decide whether they're capable of working and if they're eligible for the free top-up.

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But in the future, PIP assessments which are already separate from WCAs will be used to assess if someone is eligible for the new Health Element.

This means that half a million households not claiming PIP could be deemed ineligible for the extra cash.

Thomas Hamilton-Shaw, policy manager at disability equality charity Scope, said: "The proposals will make a very flawed assessment even more high stakes for disabled claimants.

"It may also cut hundreds of thousands of claimants out of financial support.

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"Too many disabled people are already trapped in poverty by a welfare system that’s failing them.

"There must be alternative routes for disabled claimants who aren’t eligible for PIP to have access to financial support."

Ayla Ozmen, director of policy and campaigns at the anti-poverty charity Z2K, said: "Seriously ill and disabled people are already more likely to be in poverty.

"The DWP needs to fix its broken PIP system, and guarantee that people too unwell to work aren't forced to get by on the inadequate basic levels of benefits."

PIP is available for those aged 16 or over who have not reached the state pension age.

The benefit can be worth up to £156.90 a week, so it's worth checking if you can make a claim.

To qualify, you have to have a health condition or disability where you either have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for three months.

The DWP confirmed to The Sun that it will provide new detail on how these claimants can access the new Universal Credit health top-up if they're not in receipt of PIP if the proposals go ahead at a later date.

What's happening to LCWRA payments?

The Government will axe both work capability assessments (WCAs) and limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) payments.

LCWRA payments will be replaced by a new Universal Credit "Health Element" which will automatically be given to those claiming personal independence payments (PIP).

PIP comes with its own separate health assessment and this will be used to confirm a Universal Credit claimant's eligibility for the new Health Element.

Those who don't claim pip but do get LCWRA payments will receive "transitional protection" when the payments are scrapped by the Government.

But for now, it remains unclear how they'll then receive the Universal Credit Health Element after these transitional payments stop unless they launch a successful claim for PIP.

When will the changes take place?

The government published a Health and Disability White Paper on the same day the Chancellor delivered his Spring Budget.

The scrapping of WCAs and LCWRA payments form part of this White Paper and will need to be presented to Parliament after a consultation process before it comes into law.

The legislation is expected to pass through Parliament in the 2026/27 financial year.

It will then take three years to roll out the new proposals which are expected to be completed by 2029.

What can I do in the meantime?

If you receive Universal Credit and LCWRA payments it's still worth checking if you're eligible for PIP because you can claim both.

The payments can be worth up to £156.90 a week, so if you don't claim already it's well worth seeing if you're eligible.

PIP is available to those aged 16 or over but not yet at the state pension age.

Crucially, you must also have a health condition or disability where you either have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for three months, and you expect these difficulties to continue for at least nine months (unless you’re terminally ill with less than six months to live).

Difficulties with daily living can include:

  • Preparing or eating food
  • Washing, bathing and using the toilet
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Reading and communicating
  • Managing your medicines or treatments
  • Making decisions about money
  • Engaging with other people

You can claim PIP at the same time as other benefits, except the armed forces' independence payment.

PIP is made up of two parts and whether you get one or both of these depends on how severely your condition affects you.

How much you get also depends on how your condition affects you.

You may get the mobility part of PIP if you need help going out or moving around. The weekly rate for this is either £24.45 or £64.50.

While on the daily living part of PIP, the weekly rate is either £61.85 or £92.40 – and you could get both elements, so up to £156.90 in total.

You’ll be assessed by a health professional to work out the level of help you can get and your rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you’re getting the right support.

You can make a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim by calling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222.

When you claim, you'll need:

  • Your contact details
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • Bank or building society account number and sort code
  • Your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number
  • Dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital

Someone else can call on your behalf, but you'll need to be with them when they call.

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You'll then be sent a form to fill in, after which you'll be invited for an assessment or your health or social care worker will be asked for information.

After this, you'll be sent a letter telling you if your claim has been successful.

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