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Managed migration

An overview
Universal Credit (UC) was always intended to replace tax credits and existing means-tested benefits for working age households. UC is administered by Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in Great Britain and Department for Communities in Northern Ireland (DfC). 

 

UC initially started in 2013 and by the end of 2018, it was available in every area of the United Kingdom. Prior to managed migration, people would consider claiming UC if they would be better off or if they had a change of circumstances meaning they had to make a new benefit claim for one of the benefits UC replaced.

Universal Credit replaced the following 'legacy benefits':

  • Child tax credits

  • Working tax credits

  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance (IB-JSA)

  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance (IR-ESA)

  • Income Support

  • Housing benefit (working age)


Managed migration is the final step in the roll-out of Universal Credit. It is the formal process of DWP (or DfC in Northern Ireland) moving existing claimants of the above legacy benefits over to Universal Credit.
Once this is complete, the legacy benefits will cease to exist for working age people. No-one of working age will remain on tax credits or the 'old' income related benefits.

Managed migration is happening in stages. As there are millions of people needing to be moved over, DWP and DfC are doing this in stages. There was a pilot in 2019 of 10,000 people, and there was a Discovery phase in 2022The principle behind this was so DWP, DfC, HMRC and local authorities could learn from the process and decide if improvements should be made. 

The full-scale managed migration process started in April 2023.

Transitional protection

If you are part of managed migration, and you claim UC, you may be entitled to transitional protection.

There are three types of transitional protection.

  • Transitional element: this is an extra element within your UC award and is intended to mean you are not worse off on UC.

  • Transitional capital disregard: Normally, people with over £16,000 in regarded savings or capital are not entitled to UC. However, tax credits do not have a similar rule.
    Under UC managed migration, someone who has savings or capital over £16,000 will have the excess above £16,000 ignored for up to 12 assessment periods (12 months) from the point of making the UC claim.

  • Transitional student disregard: Normally, students cannot claim UC, unless they meet an exemption. However, tax credits and legacy benefits have different rules.
    Under UC managed migration, existing students have a student exemption until the current course finishes. 

Read more on transitional protection.​

The basics of the process

If you are still claiming tax credits or a 'legacy benefit', you will receive a formal letter notifying you of the managed migration process and be given a deadline date. 

The deadline will be at least 3 months after the letter was printed and posted to you.
You may also receive a reminder letter or text messages. 
If you are claiming tax credits jointly, both you are your partner should receive a notifying letter.

The deadline date can be extended with good reason. In some circumstances, the managed migration process can be deferred or cancelled entirely. You would speak to the managed migration helpline to discuss this as it is decided on a case by case basis. 

Managed migration example letter

If you make your UC claim on or before, the deadline date:

  • Your UC claim will start immediately. 

  • Any tax credits will end from the day before your UC claim starts.

  • Any other 'legacy benefit' (IR-ESA, IB-JSA or Income Support) would end the day before your UC claim starts, but you will be entitled to a 2-week run-on period.

Example:

Deadline date of 7th August. Claimed UC 14th July.

  • UC claim starts 14th July.

  • Tax credits ends 13th July.

  • Any other legacy benefit would end 13th July but due to the 2-week run-on, you will be paid until 27th July.

If you do not make your UC claim on or before, the deadline date but you make the claim within the 1 month period after (final deadline):

  • Your UC claim will start on deadline date.

  • Any tax credits will end from the day before deadline date.

  • Any other 'legacy benefit' (IR-ESA, IB-JSA or Income Support) would end the day before your deadline date, but you will be entitled to a 2-week run-on period.

Example:

Deadline date of 7th August. Claimed UC 14th August.

  • UC claim starts 7th August.

  • Tax credits ends 6th August.

  • Any other legacy benefit would end 6th August but due to the 2-week run-on, you will be paid until 20th August.

If you do not make a claim for UC on or before, the deadline date and do not make the claim within 1 month period after (final deadline):

  • Your will not have a claim for UC under managed migration. 

  • Any tax credits will end from the date before deadline date.

  • Any other 'legacy benefit' (IR-ESA, IB-JSA or Income Support) would end the day before your deadline date, but you will be entitled to a 2-week run-on period.

Example:

Deadline date of 7th August. Did not claim UC by 6th September.

  • UC claim starts when you make the claim, if you make the claim. 

  • Tax credits ends 6th August.

  • Any other legacy benefit would end 6th August but due to the 2-week run-on, you will be paid until 20th August.

The claim process and after

You would make your claim in the normal way. The date you claim can be quite important so you should get advice or do some research before making your claim. You would make your claim by creating an online account with email address and creating a username and password, or by contacting UC and submitting a telephone claim. 
You would need to supply all your personal information including details of your household, employment, savings and capital, income, caring responsibilities, health conditions and disabilities and which bank account you would like payments made to. 
You will need to declare that the information you have provided is true and that you will report any changes to UC when they happen.

UC declaration

You may be asked to verify your identity and provide evidence (this could include housing costs, bank details, savings and capital, etc). You may need to attend the local Jobcentre to do this. 
 

You will need to agree to commitments in return for claiming Universal Credit. Depending on your circumstances, this could include searching for work, up to 35 hours per week.
UC will take into account your situation and consider whether you are required to look for work or take part in work related activities. 
If you are already working, UC will consider how much you are earning and decide if you need to look for more work. 
If you have support group on ESA or you are claiming as carer for a disabled person, over state pension age, at least 29 weeks pregnant, and other reasons, you will be placed in the no work group. 
You can read more about commitments here

If you are self-employed, you will be asked to attend the Jobcentre to meet with a self-employment work coach to discuss your business and understand what you need to do in return for UC. This will include reporting your income and permitted expenses on a monthly basis and could include agreeing to grow your business and meet with a work coach on an ongoing basis. 
You can read more about being self-employed on UC here

You will be able to access a new claim advance once your ID has been verified. This is a loan of money from UC that is intended to help you manage your living costs while waiting for your first payment. 
You can read more about new claim advance here


Payment process

After you have submitted the claim for UC, DWP will notify legacy benefits that you have made your claim for UC so they can take appropriate action to end your claims.
DWP will also ask them for additional information on your entitlement and how they were working out your benefit award. This is so DWP can consider if they need to include a transitional element, to ensure you are not worse off, and how much this will be.
You do not need to take any action for this. 

Your UC claim is worked out on a monthly basis, called an assessment period. Your first assessment period starts on the same day as your UC claim. Once your first assessment period has finished, UC will work out your entitlement, provide you with the amount of the payment and a breakdown of how that was worked out. They will pay the money into your bank account 7 days after your assessment period ends. 
It is always 1 month and 7 days until your first payment. 
Your payment date will be monthly on the same date each month.
This will be paid early if weekend or bank holiday. 

Example: Your deadline date is 5th August.
You claim before this on 3rd August. Your claim starts on 3rd August
Your first UC assessment period is 3rd August to 2nd September.
After the 2nd September, UC work out your payment amount and provide you with a breakdown.
Your payment is made into your bank on 9th September.
Your payment would be made on the 9th of each month thereafter.
This will be paid early if weekend or bank holiday. 

Managing your claim on an ongoing basis
You would need to ensure that you report all changes to UC as they happen. You would need to make sure that you take any actions required on your account, so make sure to login often.
If you are asked to complete any commitments, failure to do so, without good reason, could result in a sanction being applied to your payments. 
If you start or stop living with your partner, you would need to report this change to UC. 

Transitional protection is not intended to be permanent support. There are certain circumstances that transitional protection ends entirely, and your claim would fall under the normal rules. 

The transitional element was only intended to ensure people are not worse off at the point of claiming UC. There are situations in which the transitional element will erode or end entirely

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