Moving from older benefits to Universal Credit

Last updated: 13/03/2024

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are sending out letters to people claiming legacy benefits telling them that their benefits will be stopping and they have to claim universal credit this is called managed migration and these letters are called ‘Universal Credit Migration Notice’

What are legacy benefits?

Legacy benefits include Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income based  Jobseekers Allowance, income related Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support.

If you are on one of these legacy benefits, you should look out for your Universal Credit Migration Notice, this will tell you when the deadline is for you claiming Universal Credit you will not be transferred automatically you will need to apply online for Universal Credit. It is important to get advice when you receive your Migration Notice to ensure you apply before the deadline and to see if you are going to be worse off financially claiming universal credit. Our advisors will be happy to discuss this with you and explain when it is best making your claim and calculate your Universal Credit amount.

Transitional Protection

If you have received a Migration Notice and you claim Universal Credit before the deadline in your letter and you are worse off financially you would receive Transitional Protection. This means that you would receive the same amount as you did claiming Legacy benefits until your circumstances change or Universal Credit rates catch up.

Can I choose not to transfer to Universal Credit.

Your legacy benefits will end on the deadline date on your Migration Notice so if you choose not to claim Universal Credit you will not receive any benefit income for yourself, children, childcare and housing costs, it is also worth noting that Universal Credit can not be backdated so it is important to claim if you rely on Legacy benefits.

More information on Universal Credit.

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.

Conditionality and sanctions

Because of changes to Universal Credit conditionality (work requirements and sanctions), there are certain requirements you will need to meet to continue receiving Universal Credit (UC). These could be things like:

  • attending job interviews
  • actively seeking employment
  • participating in training programs
  • taking part in work experience

Find out what these rules mean for you.