What should you do if you receive a Universal Credit managed migration notice? – podcast transcript

Hi. My name’s Derek and this podcast is about what you should do if you receive a managed migration notice from the Department of Work and Pensions telling you that your existing legacy benefits are ending and you need to claim Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is a new benefit that replaces six existing means-tested benefits. These are:

These are known as the legacy benefits.

The government plans to ask all existing legacy benefits to move onto Universal Credit instead. It calls this managed migration onto Universal Credit. Once you have been selected for manged migration, you will receive a managed migration notice.

This is a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) telling you that any legacy benefits that you get will be stopping and giving you a date by which they want you to claim Universal Credit instead. When you are likely to get a managed migration notice depends on your circumstances including where in the UK you live. See Contact’s website for up to date information on those people being moved first.

Once you’ve received a managed migration notice, it is really important that you read it to find out what steps you need to take to claim Universal Credit. Although the process of moving from legacy benefits to Universal Credit is called ‘managed migration’, this phrase is misleading. No-one is going to automatically transfer you over onto Universal Credit. Instead, you will need to make a claim for Universal Credit to make sure that this new benefit is ready to replace the legacy benefits that are stopping. If you don’t claim Universal Credit when asked you could be left in a situation where your current legacy benefits stop and you have no Universal Credit to replace them.

Once you have received a managed migration notice, you will only have a limited amount of time within which to make a claim if you want to make sure that you don’t lose out. If you don’t claim within certain deadlines, not only will there be a really long delay between your legacy benefits stopping and your Universal Credit starting, but if you qualify for less money on Universal Credit, you won’t be get any transitional protection top-up payments to make sure you aren’t worse off. Transitional protection is only available to people who claim under the managed migration rules.

Your managed migration notice will include a deadline date by which you need to have claimed Universal Credit. This is usually three months from the date that you were sent your managed migration notice. You can claim earlier than the deadline date if you want to – in which case your legacy benefits will stop sooner. But if you haven’t claimed by the deadline date – this will the date on which your legacy benefits stop.

This means that you have a choice about whether you claim Universal Credit as soon as you get your managed migration notice or wait until nearer your deadline date. Which is best for you will depend on your individual family circumstances, and in particular what changes of circumstances you’re expecting within those three months. If possible, try to speak to a benefits adviser about when would be the best time to make a claim.

If you’ll struggle to claim Universal Credit by the deadline date in your letter, you can try and ask the DWP for an extension. Guidance suggests that good reasons for extending your deadline date might include things like health problems or caring responsibilities. However, a request for an extension can only be considered if you ask for it before your deadline date and you have no right of appeal if an extension is refused.

If you miss your deadline, it is still possible to make a Universal Credit claim but you will need to act fast if you don’t want to lose out. So long as you claim Universal Credit within 1 month of your deadline date, your Universal Credit claim can be automatically backdated. The last day of this extra month is known as your final deadline date. So for example – if the deadline date in your managed migration notice is 20th of December, your final deadline date would be 19 January. If you miss your deadline date but claim before your final deadline not only will your claim be backdated but you will still be eligible for transitional protection to make sure that you are no worse off on Universal Credit.

If you miss the final deadline it’s still possible to make a claim Universal Credit, but you won’t get any transitional protection to protect you from being worse off. Given this you should try and make sure you do everything you can to claim before your final deadline date.

If you are currently on tax credits and have savings of over £16,000, you should still be sent a managed migration notice. You may think that there is no point in claiming Universal Credit because your savings are too high. However, it is still worth making a claim. So long as you claim under managed migration rules, Universal Credit will temporarily ignore any savings you have above £16,000 for up to 12 months. This means that the only way that a tax credit claimant with more than £16,000 can get Universal Credit is if they wait to get a managed migration notice and then make sure that they lodge their claim before their final deadline date.

Thanks for listening. See our webpages at www.contact.org.uk for more details.