Managed migration roll-out: your questions answered

6 mins read

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Tags: benefits, universal credit, managed migration, FAQs

The national roll-out of managed migration – the process of replacing legacy benefits with Universal Credit for existing claimants – will start in June 2023.

Initially this applies to tax credits-only claimants, but over the next two years will roll out to all legacy benefits claimants. See our news story on the roll-out for details on timeframes.

To help you understand the roll-out and how it might affect you, we’ve tried to anticipate some questions you might have, below.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new benefit that replaces six means-tested benefits: Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. These are known as the legacy benefits.

What is managed migration?

There are two ways that someone might move from legacy benefits onto Universal Credit. Firstly, you might have a change of circumstances that means your existing benefits stop. You’ll have little option but to claim Universal Credit instead. This can apply no matter where in the UK you live.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can also ask you to claim Universal Credit even though you have had no change in circumstances. This is called “managed migration”. Up until now, managed migration has only applied to small numbers of claimants in a few pilot areas.

From June, the DWP intends to apply managed migration to much larger numbers of people – starting during 2023/24 with tax credits-only claimants.  This means people who are getting tax credits, but who do not receive any other legacy benefits.

Will the DWP automatically move me onto Universal Credit?

No. Although this process is called managed migration, you won’t move over onto Universal Credit automatically. Instead, there are steps you will need to take. You will need to make a claim for Universal Credit within three months of receiving written notice that your existing legacy benefits will be ending.

Is Universal Credit replacing all benefits?

Universal Credit is not replacing any other benefits such as Carer’s Allowance, council tax support or Disability Living Allowance / Personal Independence Payment.

The only legacy benefit I get is tax credits. When will the DWP ask me to claim Universal Credit?

During 2023/24, all tax credits-only claimants will need to move onto Universal Credit.

It had already been announced that tax credits-only claimants would start to be migrated onto Universal Credit from April in Avon, Somerset and Gloucester and from May in East London and Cheshire. This process will now be expanded to Greater Manchester, East Yorkshire and the Humber from June.

The DWP has not yet provided a timetable for when tax credits-only claimants in the rest of the country will migrate. It has said that it aims to have started migrating tax credits-only claimants:

  • In every DWP region by September 2023; and
  • In every jobcentre in Great Britain by the end of March 2024.

In the meantime, if you don’t live in one of the areas mentioned above, keep checking our website for updates on when it will extended to tax credits-only claimants your area.

As well as tax credits, I also get Housing Benefit. When will I need to claim Universal Credit?

Because you get another legacy benefit and are not a tax credits-only claimant, you won’t need to claim Universal Credit until sometime in 2024/25.

The only exception is if you live in one of a small number of pilot areas where people on other legacy benefits are already expected to claim Universal Credit.  

What will happen when the DWP selects me for managed migration?

You won’t move onto Universal Credit automatically. Instead, you will have to make a claim for Universal Credit.

You’ll receive a “migration notice” in writing that your legacy benefits will be ending. You’ll have three months from the date on your migration notice within which to make a claim for Universal Credit. After this, your legacy benefits will stop. The DWP can extend this three-month deadline if there are good reasons.

If you don’t claim Universal Credit within the deadline (or any agreed extension), not only will you have an interruption in your benefit payments. You also won’t be eligible for transitional protection if you make a late claim.

What happens if I would be worse off under Universal Credit?

Under Universal Credit, some people are better off, but others are worse off.

So long as you claim Universal Credit within the three-month deadline (or any agreed extension), you’ll be eligible for transitional protection payments. These transitional protection payments top-up your Universal Credit if it’s less than what you were getting under legacy benefits.

If you do not claim by the deadline (or any agreed extension), you will not be eligible for transitional protection. This is so even if you claim Universal Credit at some later date.

Transitional protection for managed migration claimants will be limited for those with capital of more than £16,000. The capital they have above £16,000 will be ignored for only 12 months. If they still have more than £16,000 in capital after 12 months, their Universal Credit award will come to an end.

Certain changes of circumstances will reduce the amount of transitional protection or can even bring it to an end. In addition, transitional protection payments will not be uprated with inflation, so even those getting transitional protection payments will be worse off over time.

Which parts of the UK does managed migration apply to?

The information set out above applies to England, Wales and Scotland.

Northern Ireland will have its own policy on managed migration to Universal Credit.

We corrected this article on Friday 5 May 2023. The roll-out of managed migration to the areas of Avon, Somerset and Gloucester, East London and Cheshire is to tax credits-only claimants and not to claimants of all legacy benefits, as we published initially.

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