Moving to Universal Credit from other benefits

6. Managed migration

If you remain on legacy benefits and do not enter the natural migration process, you will eventually be invited to claim Universal Credit by the DWP under a process known as managed migration.

Starting from May 2022, the DWP began sending notices to small groups of legacy benefit claimants in certain areas, as part of a 'discovery' phase to test approaches to managed migration. The discovery phase expanded to further areas in 2022 and 2023 – this includes Lancashire from September 2023. The full-scale move to Universal Credit started 2023/24. Tax credit claimants are contacted first, and the DWP aims to move all legacy benefit claimants (except those only getting income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), or only ESA and Housing Benefit) to UC by the end of 2024/25. Managed migration of the remaining ESA claimants has been delayed until 2028/29.

You will receive a 'Migration Notice' which will invite you to claim Universal Credit. You should be given a minimum period of 3 months to do this. You will be expected to make your claim online or, if you are unable to apply online, over the telephone. There is a special Universal Credit Migration Notice helpline, which you can ring free of charge on 0800 169 0328 to ask for help or to request an extension to the 3 month time limit to make your claim.

You will then need to attend a jobcentre appointment to have your ID verified and to agree to a claimant commitment. This is a binding agreement between you and the jobcentre, detailing the requirements and steps you need to take in order to receive Universal Credit.

Managed migration is compulsory – you cannot choose to remain on legacy benefits instead. Even if you choose not to claim Universal Credit, your legacy benefits will still end.

Payments of legacy benefits (except tax credits) will continue for two weeks after you have claimed Universal Credit and your first payment should be received 5-6 weeks after your date of claim.

When to claim

Your 'deadline day' is a minimum of 3 months from when DWP send you a migration notice (subject to any extension you agree with the DWP).

If you have received a migration notice from DWP, and you will be financially better off on Universal Credit, you may as well claim as soon as possible.

If you would appear to be worse off on Universal Credit, you should qualify for transitional protection to stop you being worse off at the point of transfer, so you can claim any point before the 3-month deadline.

Over time the value of transitional protection will be lost, due to changes in your circumstances. Most increases in your rate of Universal Credit will be cut from your transitional protection.

If you choose not to claim Universal Credit by your 'deadline day' your legacy benefits will end.

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