Good afternoon

DWP published yesterday, a detailed timetable of how and when all “legacy” claimants, will be forced to migrate to Universal Credit, giving up, in the process, their existing legacy awards.

From May 2023, the department’s focus was on notifying Tax Credit recipients, of the need to transition. DWP Ministers claim the process has gone well, despite reports from CPAG, suggesting a failure to claim rate of 20%; more than double that anticipated. By March 2024 its reckoned 500,000 Tax Credit households will have been notified of the need to transition to UC.

By February 2024, a month earlier than originally anticipated, ‘Move to Universal Credit’ will be underway across all Jobcentre districts within Great Britain, and by March 2025 all remaining groups, receiving legacy benefits, excluding Employment and Support Allowance only and Employment and Support Allowance with Housing Benefit, will have received their individual Migration Notices. The ESA contingent have a reprieve until 2028 so will continue as now.

The first legacy group affected, will be Income Support claimants, and those claiming Tax Credits with Housing Benefit, who will start receiving Notices from April 2024.

Those claiming, solely Housing Benefit, will receives their notices from June 2024.

Employment Support Allowance, who also recive Child Tax Credits, will be notified from July 2024. 

Whereas, those currently claiming Jobseekers Allowance will start the process from September 2024.

Some households receiving a combination of benefits, like Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Child Tax Credits could receive their notice, anytime between April – September 2024.

Lastly, from August, DWP will contact those claiming tax credits, who are over state pension age, to apply for Pension Credit, or potentially, Universal Credit in “mixed-aged” couple cases, depending on their full circumstances.

Ministers claim that “vulnerable” individuals, needing additional support, to make the move, can access various forms of support; an example of which is CAB’s online chat service. Not exactly ideal for people struggling with IT, complex questions and need to upload evidence. The best form of support is undoubtedly face2face. That’s where experienced housing officers, welfare rights, money advice, and financial inclusion staff, will become even more invaluable.

Based on experiences, so far, between 10-20%, are likely to fail making their claim, before the first and final deadline dates. So, it’s vitally important your staff know how best to tackle issues of this nature, to avoid gaps in both personal and “housing cost” entitlement. Landlords currently receiving housing benefit, paid direct, will also need to make new requests to DWP to ensure UC’s “housing costs element” is paid direct.

If you need to know more, have a look at our recently advertised “Managed Migration” and “transitional Payments” programme. The same course can be delivered in-house or via Zoom (if preferred).


Bill Irvine

UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd