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Migration to Universal Credit

Universal Credit will replace a range of working-age benefits (legacy benefits) into one single benefit and payment.   These legacy benefits are: 

  • Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income Based Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support

The government’s current plan is that existing benefit claimants will be moved over to Universal Credit from 2019 onwards.  A small number will start to be moved from July 2019 but the main 'managed migration' will take place from 2020 onwards and is currently due to be completed by December 2023.

However, anyone who has a change of circumstance before that point will be moved earlier via 'natural migration'.   In general, natural migration could be triggered if entitlement to your current benefit ends (prompting a need to claim a new one) or you become entitled to a different or extra benefit.  It shouldn't happen when you make changes to benefits you are already claiming.

It is possible for those on the legacy benefits to choose to move to UC.  If you decide to switch from a legacy benefit to Universal Credit we suggest you seek advice before doing so. It is not just the amount of money you may be entitled to that could change.

Some of the overall rules may be different, including; the initial waiting days you will not be paid for; the frequency of your payments (eg, weekly, fortnightly, monthly); or the commitments you need to agree to in order to remain eligible.  Plus, there is usually no going back to your previous benefits once a claim for Universal Credit has been made, so get advice if you're considering doing this.

If you are migrated over to Universal Credit by the DWP under the ’ managed migration’ process and you would get less money than your current benefits, you could receive a top-up payment so that you do not lose out. This is called 'transitional protection'.  If you choose to transfer, or you have a change of circumstance that results in a ‘natural migration’ to Universal Credit, you will  lose the right to the transitional protection.

Further information on some of the changes of circumstances that could affect you and the impact under the current benefits available are as follows:

Changes:

A change in employment status. 2

A change in family circumstances. 3

Partner leaving or joining the household. 3

Starting or stopping being a carer 4

Starting or stopping a claim based on disability. 4

Renewing or making small changes to tax credits. 5

Moving home and taking up a new tenancy. 5

Other changes. 5

 

A change in employment status

Change in circumstances

What happened before Universal Credit Full Service?

What happens in Universal Credit Full Service areas?

If not already claiming Child Tax Credits but on Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support or Income-related Employment Support Allowance and start work with enough hours to satisfy Working Tax Credit conditions

Claim Working Tax Credit 

Claim Universal Credit

If not already claiming Child Tax Credits but on legacy benefit such as Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and Housing Benefit and start work but not enough hours to satisfy Working Tax Credit

'Legacy benefits' adjusted

Choice - remain on adjusted 'legacy benefit' or claim Universal Credit if you will be better off

If already claiming Child Tax Credits, on income based legacy benefits and start work with enough hours to satisfy Working Tax Credit conditions

Remain on existing benefits and add Working Tax Credit

Choice - remain on adjusted existing benefits or claim Universal Credit if you will be better off

On Working Tax Credit and hours fall below 16

Claim Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

Claim Universal Credit

On Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and hours increase over 16

Potential Working Tax Credit claim

Claim Universal Credit

On Child Tax Credit and start work to satisfy Working Tax Credit rules

Add Working Tax Credit 

Remain on Child Tax Credit and claim Working Tax Credit 

On Working Tax Credit and increase hours

Stay on Working Tax Credit

Choice - remain on adjusted 'legacy benefit' or claim Universal Credit if you will be better off

On Working Tax Credit and become sick

Claim Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

Claim Universal Credit

  

A change in family circumstances

Change in circumstances

What happened before Universal Credit Full Service?

What happens in Universal Credit Full Service areas?

On Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Housing Benefit and household becomes responsible for a first child

Claim Child Tax Credit

Claim Universal Credit

On Working Tax Credit only and household becomes responsible for a first child

Remain on Tax Credit and claim Child Tax Credit

Choice - remain on adjusted 'legacy benefit' or claim Universal Credit if you will be better off

Lone parent on Income Support and youngest child turns 5 years old

Unless there is another reason to stay on Income Support, claim Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

Unless there is another reason to stay on Income Support, claim Universal Credit

On Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and baby due within 11 weeks

Claim Income Support

Claim Universal Credit

On Child Tax Credit (with or without WTC) and have another child or go from 2 to 1

Remain on Tax Credit and continue to claim Child Tax Credit

Choice - remain on adjusted 'legacy benefits' or claim Universal Credit if you will be better off (note: you can't currently claim UC if you have 3 or more children).

  

Partner leaving or joining the household

Change in circumstances

What happened before Universal Credit Full Service?

What happens in Universal Credit Full Service areas?

Couple on Tax Credits separate

Make separate claim for 'legacy benefits'

Both claim Universal Credit as single people

Lone parent on Income Support and Child Tax Credit forms a couple with a partner working less than 24 hours a week

Claim Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and make new Tax Credit claim as a couple

Claim Universal Credit as a couple 

Lone parent on Income Support and Child Tax Credit forms a couple with a partner working 24 or more hours a week

Make a new Tax Credit claim as a couple

Claim Universal Credit as a couple 

Couple on Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance with child under 5 become lone parents

Claim Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

Both claim Universal Credit as single people

Single person under pension age on 'legacy benefits' becomes a couple with person of Pension Credit qualifying age

Claim Pension Credit until Universal Credit is fully rolled out across the country

Claim Universal Credit when fully rolled out

 

Starting or stopping being a carer

Change in circumstances

What happened before Universal Credit Full Service?

What happens in Universal Credit Full Service areas?

Satisfies Carer's Allowance rules which means a new 'legacy benefit' claim

Claim the relevant 'legacy benefits'

Claim Universal Credit

Carer on Income Support stops being a carer

Unless there is a reason to stay on Income Support, claim Jobseeker's Allowance

Claim Universal Credit

 

Starting or stopping a claim based on disability

Change in circumstances

What happened before Universal Credit Full Service?

What happens in Universal Credit Full Service areas?

On Income-related Employment Support Allowance and fails Work Capability Assessment

Claim Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

Claim Universal Credit. If you challenge Work Capability Assessment and win, remain on Universal Credit

On Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and become sick

Claim Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

Claim Universal Credit

  

Renewing or making small changes to tax credits

Change in circumstances

What happened before Universal Credit Full Service?

What happens in Universal Credit Full Service areas?

Tax Credit renewal

Remain on Tax Credit

Choice - remain on adjusted 'legacy benefit' or claim Universal Credit if you will be better off

On Tax Credit and change does not lead to a claim for a new 'legacy benefit' for example less income

Remain on Tax Credit

Choice - remain on adjusted 'legacy benefit' or claim Universal Credit if you will be better off

 

Moving home and taking up a new tenancy

Change in circumstances

What happened before Universal Credit Full Service?

What happens in Universal Credit Full Service areas?

Housing Benefit claimant moves into a new local authority

New claim for Housing Benefit

Claim Universal Credit

Housing Benefit claimant moves within the same local authority

Remain on Housing Benefit

Choice - remain on adjusted 'legacy benefit' or claim Universal Credit if you will be better of

On Tax Credit, Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and take up a new tenancy for the first time

Claim Housing Benefit

Claim Universal Credit

 

Other changes

Change in circumstances

What happened before Universal Credit Full Service?

What happens in Universal Credit Full Service areas?

On Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and attends court or jury service

Claim Income Support

Claim Universal Credit

On Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and remanded in custody

Claim Income Support

Claim Universal Credit

On Income Support and cease full time education

Claim Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

Claim Universal Credit

On Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance and believed to be entitled to Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

Claim Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

Claim Universal Credit (treated as a new claim)