Moving from older benefits to Universal Credit
Last updated: 08/08/2023
Moving from legacy benefits to Universal Credit
Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and tax credits are called legacy benefits and are being replaced by Universal Credit. If you are getting a legacy benefit you will receive a letter from DWP telling you your benefits will stop and asking you to claim Universal Credit instead.
The process of moving people from legacy benefits to Universal Credit has already begun and is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
You may be getting more money from legacy benefits than you would get from Universal Credit. If you claim Universal Credit when you receive the letter, your benefit income will not be reduced. You will receive the same amount. This is called transitional protection. However, the Universal Credit you get will not be up-rated each year but will stay the same until it is equal to the amount of Universal Credit you should get.
Can I move to Universal Credit before I get the letter asking me to claim it?
You can choose to move from legacy benefits to Universal Credit, rather than wait to be invited by DWP. It is important to get advice before doing this to make sure you will not be worse off. Young Parents moving to Universal Credit can be much worse off than on Legacy Benefits. If you choose to move to Universal Credit before being invited to, you will not receive any transitional protection.
You will not get transitional protection if a move to Universal Credit was triggered by a change in your circumstances.
If you are already getting transitional protection, and have a change of circumstances, your Universal Credit will drop to the amount of Universal Credit you should be getting.
You can get advice from:
Lone Parent Helpline: 0808 801 0323 Mon – Fri, 9.30 am – 4pm
Citizens Advice Bureau: Find my local CAB
Welfare Rights officer at your local council
entitledto benefit calculation tool: entitledto
Changes that mean moving to Universal Credit before receiving the letter
If you are getting a legacy benefit and have a change in your circumstances, you may have to claim Universal Credit instead.
Circumstances that can trigger a move to Universal Credit include:
- Already getting Jobseeker’s Allowance and you becoming a single parent.
- Start needing to claim help with rent if you don’t already have Housing Benefit or move to another local authority.
- Getting Income Support when your youngest child turns 5.
For example: Magda is part of a couple and is currently getting Jobseeker’s Allowance as part of a joint claim. She has just become a single parent and needs to move onto Universal Credit as she will now claim on her own.