The Government are moving people who are currently claiming 'legacy benefits' onto Universal Credit. The following benefits are ending and are being replaced by Universal Credit: 

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA IB)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA IR)
  • Housing Benefit (HB)
  • Child Tax Credits (CTC)
  • Working Tax Credits (WTC)

You do not need to do anything until you have received a Universal Credit ‘Migration Letter’. 

You won't be moved to Universal Credit automatically, so it is essential you follow the instructions in the letter. Otherwise, your benefits will stop. 

What to do and when

You do not need to do anything until you have received a Universal Credit ‘Migration Letter’. 

Once you have received the letter, you will have 3 months  to make your claim for Universal Credit ( Details of how to do this are on the letter. If you need help, we have some step-by-step guides to help you.  

If you apply for Universal Credit before the Migration Notice deadline, you will receive a two-week payment from your current benefit starting from the date of your Universal Credit claim, except for tax credits, which stop the day before you claim Universal Credit. You will only get the extra two weeks' payment if you are still eligible for the benefit. It will not affect the amount of Universal Credit you will receive. 

Some people, especially those who work, are better off on Universal Credit and would benefit from claiming even before they receive their Migration Letter. Other people, especially those who are likely to have a change in their household circumstances before their deadline date, might need to think more carefully about when best to make their claim to maximise any transitional protection. If you would like advice about when best to claim, or a ‘better off’ calculation, our Money Advice Team can help. 

What happens if you do not claim Universal Credit within the 3-month window?

We would strongly recommend you do not miss your deadline date. If you claim after the final deadline date: 

  • Your legacy benefits will stop immediately. 
  • You are not able to get transitional protection. 
  • Your Universal Credit will not be backdated. 

If you cannot claim within this time, speak to the Universal Credit Migration Notice helpline on 0800 169 0328. If you have a good reason, they can provide more time. You must do this before the deadline date on your letter. 

Transitional Protection

Transitional Protection is a top-up payment, so you do not lose out because of the introduction of Universal Credit. It means that in total you should not receive less than your current benefits. Every case is different. It may be that you will be better off under Universal Credit anyway. It may be that you would be worse off, but you will be entitled to Transitional Protection as long as you claim in time.  

Your transitional protection may reduce or end if any of the following happen: 

  • Your UC award increases to reach the same amount you were receiving from the benefits it replaced, or 
  • Your UC entitlement decreases to nothing, or 
  • You have a significant change of circumstance. 
Advance payments

If you think you will struggle financially between making your Universal Credit claim and your first payment, you can ask Universal Credit for an advance payment. This amount will be taken off your ongoing Universal Credit payments. 

Paying your rent

If you have your Housing Benefit paid directly to your landlord and would like your landlord to receive your Universal Credit Housing Element, you will need to request this from Universal Credit when you move over. This will not be done automatically.  

If you receive your Migration Notice, it is important that you contact us so we can discuss your rent as your payments will probably need to change. Give the team a call on 01612176016 (option 3).

When should you expect your letter?

The migration timetable is as follows: 

April 2024  

Income Support claimants and those claiming either Child Tax Credits or Working Tax Credits with Housing Benefit. 

June 2024  

Housing Benefit only (except those Housing Benefit only claimants living in Supported or Temporary Accommodation). 

July 2024 

Income related Employment Support Allowance with Child Tax Credits - with or without Housing Benefit. 

August 2024 

Tax Credits claimants over state pension age will be asked to apply for Universal Credit or Pension Credit, depending on their circumstances. 

September 2024 

Income-based Jobseeker Allowance, with or without Housing Benefit. 

Income-related Employment Support Allowance, with or without Housing Benefit. 

Further support and guidance

Department for Work and Pensions 

Universal Credit: How to claim - GOV.UK ( Alternatively, you can contact the Universal Credit Helpline at 0800 328 5644. 

Get help if you have accessibility needs.  

Move to Universal Credit - Move to Universal Credit ( 

How to claim Universal Credit: step by step - GOV.UK ( 


Citizens Advice's Help to Claim Service 

Contact the Citizens Advice about a Universal Credit application. This service can assist you in making a claim. It is available between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. 

  • Phone free: 0800 144 8 444 
  • Relay UK if you can't hear or speak on the phone: 18001  then  0800 144 4 444 
  • British Sign Language (BSL) 
  • Webchat advice 

Ask for a translator if you need advice in a different language.