Is it time to move to Universal Credit?

Posted on 27 March 2024

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is moving everyone off ‘legacy benefits’, and onto Universal Credit.

If you’re claiming any of the benefits mentioned below then soon you'll have to take action, and switch over to Universal Credit (UC). These are income-based and/or income related benefits:

  • working tax credits
  • child tax credits
  • housing benefit
  • employment and support allowance
  • income support
  • jobseeker’s allowance.

Anyone who receives working tax credits and/or child tax credits may have already received a notice letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) telling them to move over to UC. The DWP now plans to send out migration notice letters between April and September 2024 to people in receipt of four other legacy benefits.

What do I do?

If you receive any of the benefits listed above, look out for your ‘notice of managed migration’. If you’re in in any doubt about moving over to UC then please contact us or seek advice.

You’ll receive a letter through the post from the DWP. Once you have this letter, you’ll have three months to act.

The managed migration to UC is spread across job centre districts UK wide. They have published a schedule for the types of benefits that will be receiving their letter and when, but the important thing is to look out for yours, and act when you get it. Or you could lose out. The schedule is:

  • April 2024 - Income Support and those claiming Tax Credits with Housing Benefits (HB)
  • June 2024 – HB claimants only
  • July 2024 - Employment Support Allowance (ESA) with Child Tax Credits
  • September 2024/25 - Jobseekers Allowance
  • 2028/29 - All remaining ESA and HB claimants (as-well as ESA-only Claimants).

The DWP plans to complete the managed migration by the end of 2029.

Stop, think, and be in the know

There’ll be winners and losers in this transition, so be as informed as you can. Once you’ve received your letter through the post, we can help you work out:

  • the best time in that three-month window to move.
  • how much you’re likely to receive in UC. We’ll also be able to provide tips to ensure your application is assessed correctly from the start.
  • if you’re entitled to any Transitional Protections. These are measures, the government has put in place to protect against loss of income caused by the switch over.

You must look out for your letter from the DWP. But you can get prepared. Check how much you will receive on UC, it might be less than you’re getting now, but it might be more.

You can make the switch to UC earlier than when you’re invited, but if you’re due to receive less after the switch over, it’s better to wait for the managed migration notice letter. Our Universal Credit helper tool can help you through the application process.

You’ll also want to consider any known existing debts that could be deducted from your UC award and ensure that you’re receiving all the benefits and extra help that you might need.

When you’ve received your letter, you can contact us on the usual channels and ask to talk about the switch to UC. The letter will also signpost to where you can find more information. And there’s a dedicated helpline if you prefer to call.

If you’re worried about your finances, we can offer expert advice and support on a range of subjects. We’re here to help.