Universal Credit: Managed Migration, your questions answered

9 mins read

Thursday 23 May 2024

Tags: disability, managed migration, universal credit, benefits

Last week, our family finance advisers ran a special Facebook Q&A on Universal Credit: managed migration.

More than 60 parent carers stopped by our Facebook Group to ask questions and get expert advice on moving onto Universal Credit from legacy benefits as part of the managed migration process in England, Wales and Scotland.

To help those who weren’t able to take part in the Q&A, we’ve rounded up the five top questions asked during the session — have a look below!

You can also visit our Facebook Group to read through the rest of the Q&A, or take a look at our online advice for more information about Universal Credit: managed migration.

  1. Can I ask for a managed migration notice to cancelled where I have a young person aged 16-19 who is still in full time non advanced education?

Several parents wanted to know if they could ask for their managed migration notice to be cancelled if they had a young person in full time non-advanced education.

The Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) current policy is that they should not send a managed migration notice to a family who has a 19 year old who is still in full time non-advanced education. Instead, a managed migration is not supposed to be sent until the young person either leaves non-advanced education or turns 20 – whichever happens first.

This is because that family may lose out because payments for a child stop earlier under Universal Credit than under child tax credit. While tax credit payments can continue until a young person in non-advanced education turns 20, under Universal Credit rules child payments must stop on the 31 August after their 19th birthday.

Despite this policy, some managed migration notices have been sent in error to families with a 19 year old in non-advanced education. This is likely because the DWP may not always be aware what age a child is when they are sent a notice. In these cases, a parent has the option of asking Universal Credit to consider cancelling their managed migration until a later date.

Although the DWPs policy only applies to 19 year olds, there is a strong argument that where a child in non-advanced education is currently aged 18 but will be turning 19 before 31 August 2024 that a similar principle should apply. They too will be at risk of losing out, so there would be grounds to ask for a cancellation where a family falls into this group.

It is worth noting that while most families with a 19 year old (or an 18 year old turning 19 before September) will be better off getting their managed migration notice cancelled, this is not necessarily the case for everyone. Ideally families should seek individual advice before requesting a cancellation in case there are other individual circumstances that mean getting a managed migration notice cancelled is not in their best interests.  

The situation is different if your child will be turning 19 at some point after 31 August 2024. In that case Universal Credit payments for your child won’t stop in August 24 but could continue up until the end of August 25. This means that the DWP are unlikely to agree to a cancellation request on the grounds of your child’s age.  

It’s worth remembering that the DWPs policy of not asking families with 19 year olds to claim Universal Credit could be changed at short notice. The government are keen to move everyone on tax credits onto Universal Credit by next year. This may result in change of policy where families with 19 year olds in non-advanced education no longer have their migration deferred.  

Other popular enquiries during the Q+A

2. I got my migration notice last week. What documentation do I need to complete my claim?

Universal Credit will accept a screenshot of your bank account provided it is clear and readable and covers the last three months. You may also be able to download recent bank statements using online banking and these may be easier to read and upload. There will be an option to upload evidence as part of the claim process., so it is helpful to have everything ready to upload before your start the claim.

You will be asked what rates of DLA your children receive as part of the claim. Universal Credit will then verify this with DLA, you shouldn’t need to send them an award letter.

However, if you are asked to provide evidence then a clear photograph of the full award letter can be uploaded.

As Universal Credit is now an online claim process, they expect claimants to upload documents rather than sending them through the post as this is a much quicker process. You can also take documents to your local jobcentre if you would struggle to upload, scan or photocopy them.

Before you start the claim process, make sure that your awards of Child Tax Credit include the correct elements for your children, particularly the disabled child elements as this will ensure you receive the correct amount of Universal Credit and any transitional protection that you are entitled to. You should be receiving a disabled child element for each of your children who receives DLA and the higher disabled child element if they are receiving the higher care rate of DLA.

3. We got our notice and have to move from tax credits to Universal Credit by mid June. I’m a full time carer for my son and get Carers Allowance. However, my partner also provides full-time care to my son. I’m worried he will be expected to look for work when we move onto Universal Credit.

You won’t be expected to look for work or have regular interviews due to the fact that you are eligible for carer’s allowance and are exempt from any work-related requirements. However, there is a definite risk that your partner might be expected to take steps to look for work.

Where two people both provide 35 hours or more care to the same disabled person only one of them will be treated as a carer and automatically exempted from all work-related conditions. The other carer is usually expected to undertake job seeking and other work-related activities.

However, it is important to know that Universal Credit staff do have a discretionary power to exempt a second carer providing 35 hours or more care to the same child from any work related conditions, if they believe that this is reasonable in all the circumstances.

4. We are currently on income related Employment Support Allowance (irESA) and tax credits. Please can you advise on the dates that we will be migrated onto Universal Credit? We have not had any letter.

The first thing to say is that you won’t be moved onto Universal Credit automatically – you will be invited to make a claim for Universal Credit and will need to do so within certain deadlines. The Department for Work and Pensions plans to start sending managed migration notices to people who only get irESA alongside tax credits from July onwards. It is expected that most claimants in this group will have received a managed migration notice by the start of the Autumn. irESA claimants who don’t get tax credits and who are either on irESA only or on ESA in combination with housing benefit won’t start to be sent notices until Autumn 2024 onwards, For details of the timetable for migrating people on other legacy benefits see Contact’s website.

The main thing that you should do before then is get advice to check that your current legacy benefits are maximised and that you are not missing out on any payments. The higher your legacy benefits going into the managed migration process, the better the chances that you will be eligible for some transitional protection payments.

For example, if you are a tax credits claimant and have a dependent child on DLA, PIP or their Scottish equivalents you should double check to make sure that your tax credits award includes additional tax credit amounts known as the disabled child element for that child. If they get a disability benefit at the higher rate for personal care or enhanced rate for daily living, they should also get a severely disabled child element.

Checking your tax credits award to make sure you are getting these extra payments will not only ensure that you aren’t missing out in the here and now but will also increase your chances of qualifying for transitional protection top-up payments once you eventually do migrate onto Universal Credit. Making sure your existing benefits are maximised is probably the most important thing that you can do while you are still waiting to receive a managed migration notice.

You should also check that your award of Employment and Support Allowance includes the correct elements for yourself and particularly the disability elements.

5. I got my migration letter to say I must move onto Universal Credit by July. My son was recently assessed as having autism. He’s been awarded DLA. Would I still need to move to Universal Credit or defer?

The fact that you have a child on DLA does not mean your managed migration notice would be deferred. You will still need to claim Universal Credit and should do so by your deadline date. What is important is that you get a benefits check before then to make sure that your legacy benefits include all the correct disability and carer payments before you claim Universal Credit. Checking your legacy benefits to make sure you are getting these extra payments will not only ensure that you aren’t missing out in the here and now but will also increase your chances of qualifying for transitional protection top-up payments once you eventually do migrate onto Universal Credit. The higher your legacy benefits are the better the chances you will get some transitional protection payments.