Attention: Tax Credit recipients

Attention Tax Credit recipients

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be operating a move to Universal Credit (UC) activity in all regions/countries of Great Britain by September 2023 and expect to be undertaking this activity in all Jobcentre Plus districts by the end of the 2024.

This will start within our district from December 2023, customers currently receiving Child Tax Credits, Work Tax Credits or both Tax Credits will be asked to move on to Universal Credit (UC).

What does this mean?

If you currently receive Child Tax Credits, Work Tax Credits or both Tax Credits the DWP will be contacting you with a Migration Notice letter, advising you that you have three months to make a claim to Universal Credit before your tax credit payments end. Tax Credits will end even if you do not claim Universal Credit.

Customer advice on what to expect

Once a migration notice is received

You should claim Universal Credit by the deadline on your letter.

Legacy benefits will stop after the deadline. If Universal Credit is claimed before the deadline, the DWP might pay you extra to stop you being worse off. This is called ‘transitional protection’.

This means that if you’d get less on Universal Credit than your old benefits, you’ll get an extra amount to make up the difference. The DWP will reduce the extra amount over time - so you’ll eventually just get what you normally would on Universal Credit.

Transitional protection also means you might be able to get Universal Credit when you wouldn’t usually be entitled to it, if you:

  • Are a full-time student who wouldn’t usually get Universal Credit, you can usually get it until the end of your course
  • Get tax credits and have over £16,000 savings, you can get Universal Credit for up to a year

If you can’t claim by the migration deadline

If the deadline hasn’t passed yet, you can ask the DWP to extend it. You can only ask for this before the original deadline in the letter. If the DWP agree, they’ll send you a new deadline.

If the deadline has passed, you can still get transitional protection if you claim Universal Credit up to a month after the deadline. The end of the month is called the ‘final deadline’.

If you claim after the final deadline, you can still claim Universal Credit - but you can’t get the transitional protection.

If you need help moving on to Universal Credit, you can talk to a Citizens Advice adviser.

Claiming Universal Credit

If you claim Universal Credit, you’ll usually get one payment each month and you usually have to manage your claim online. 

It will usually take 5 weeks to get your first Universal Credit payment - but it could take longer. 

Your old benefits might stop before your Universal Credit starts. When they stop depends on which benefits you get, and when you claim Universal Credit.

If you claim before the deadline from the DWP:

  • Tax credits stop the day before you claim Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit, income-based JSA, income-related ESA and Income Support stop 2-weeks after you claim Universal Credit

If you claim Universal Credit after the deadline from the DWP:

  • Tax credits stop the day before the deadline from the DWP
  • Housing Benefit, income-based JSA, income-related ESA and Income Support stop 2-weeks after the deadline from the DWP

You’ll only get the extra 2-weeks payment if you’re still eligible for the benefit. You won’t need to pay back the extra payments and they won’t affect how much Universal Credit you’ll get.

If you won’t have enough money to live on while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment, you can ask for an advance payment. The advance payment is a loan - you’ll have to pay it back.

How to claim

Visit Universal Credit for more information on how to claim.

Migration Notice

A letter sent to claimants inviting them to make a claim to UC and informing them of their deadline to claim before their legacy benefits become terminated.

Legacy Benefit

These are benefits that are being replaced by Universal Credit, including:

  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-based Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Transitional Protection

Transitional Protection is an additional amount included in an eligible claimant’s UC award if they received a Migration Notice, their circumstances remain unchanged, and their UC entitlement is less than their legacy benefit entitlement at the point of transition.