THOUSANDS of benefit claimants in Barnsley waiting to move to Universal Credit are yet to be transferred meaning they could be at risk of losing their support, new figures have revealed.

Universal Credit was introduced in 2013 to replace several existing benefits, in a bid to simplify the benefit system.

People receiving Jobseekers’ Allowance, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit among others are gradually being transferred onto Universal Credit, with the Department for Work and Pension resuming the issuing of migration notices in July 2022 following the coronavirus pandemic.

But payments to many receiving these older benefits were stopped completely, rather than moving to the new system.

DWP figures show around 3,480 migration notices had been submitted to legacy benefit and tax credit claimants in Barnsley between July 2022 and March.

None of these cases were closed, meaning no-one lost their benefits.

In Barnsley, roughly 72 per cent of people sent a migration notice during this period remained on legacy benefits as of March 31, meaning they could yet be stripped of their support.

All the households on hold had been contacted in the last three months, which is the timeframe the DWP gives people to migrate to Universal Credit.

It comes as anti-poverty charity Turn2Us warned hundreds of thousands of people across Britain have lost support as they move from legacy benefits to Universal Credit.

Claire Atchia McMaster, director of income and external affairs at the charity, said many claiming legacy benefits have complex needs and may lack digital access to manage their support.

She added: “It is vital the process of contacting and supporting these people is not rushed, ensuring they are given adequate time, accessible information and personalised support to move over to Universal Credit.

“Disruption to benefits payments alongside the five-week wait for Universal Credit could cause serious harm to their finances and lives.”

Those who did not voluntarily transfer to Universal Credit and receive less than their previous benefit support are provided with financial protection.

Some 166,860 households across Great Britain received transactional protection during the same period, a top-up designed to aid people’s migration to a lower income - including around 340 in Barnsley.

A DWP spokesperson said: “The majority of tax credit claimants have successfully moved to Universal Credit.

“Our statistics show that only 30 people logged complaints while over half a million households had been invited to move to Universal Credit by the end of March.

“There is a range of support available to help people move, including extensions for those who need extra support.”