Moving to universal credit

Last updated: 22/01/2020

Most people receiving income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit and working tax credit (legacy benefits) will be ‘invited’ to claim universal credit from late 2020. When this happens, your income will not be reduced if the amount of universal credit is less than you were receiving in other benefits. This is called transitional protection. However, the payment you receive will not be up-rated each year but will stay the same until it is equal to universal credit.

A change of circumstance that means you would have to claim a different legacy benefit could result in you receiving universal credit instead. For example, if you are getting income support and your youngest child turns five you will receive universal credit rather than jobseeker’s allowance. You will not get transitional protection if this happens.

If you have a change of circumstances while receiving universal credit you will drop to the current amount of universal credit.

You can choose to move from legacy benefits to universal credit, rather than wait to be invited by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), but it is best to get advice before doing so as you might be worse off.