Happy woman opening a letter

Universal Credit move – look out for letter to avoid losing money

If we’re on Tax Credits we’ll soon get a letter inviting us to move on to Universal Credit

If we’re on Tax Credits we should keep an eye out for a letter telling us we’re moving to Universal Credit.

More than 200,000 households will be getting letters from this month. They’ll probably be labelled ‘Universal Credit Migration Notice’.

The process is called ‘managed migration’ and it’s how the government is moving us from other benefits over to UC. The government wants all of us to have moved over by the end of 2024.

If we’re in South London, West Yorkshire, Staffordshire or Derbyshire we could be among those receiving letters this month.

If we’re not in one of these areas but are claiming Tax Credits, we could still get our letter by the end of September.

What do we have to do?

Once we get the Migration Notice letter in the post, we have three months to move on to UC. The letter will tell us how to apply and it will also give us a deadline date.

But we have to start the process ourselves – it won’t be automatic. And if we don’t act, we could lose out on benefit payments.

We can even start before our letter arrives by looking out all the documents we’ll need to make the change.

For example, we’ll need our bank/credit union account details. We’ll also need a couple of things that prove our ID, like passport, driving licence or debit card.

We’ll also have to answer questions on our earnings, savings, disabilities, childcare costs and the amount of rent we pay.

The good news is that most of us will be a bit better off once we’ve moved over. And if it turns out our payments on UC will be less than our old benefit we’ll get something called ‘transitional protection’.

Moving over early

If we’re still on older benefits (so-called legacy benefits) and we’d rather be on UC we should do a benefits calculation first.

This will make sure we’re not moving on to lower payments sooner than we need to. Using a benefits calculator like this one on the Quids in! website is free.

If our circumstances change, for example if we move house or switch jobs, we’re likely to be moved on to UC at this point.

We won’t get the transitional payment for either of these scenarios though.

And remember, there’s usually a five-week wait before we’ll get our first UC payment. If this is going to leave us in a crisis, there’s help we can ask for.

Quids in! has a special Guide to Universal Credit that answers all the questions claimants may have. And there’s lots of helpful advice about the move on our website.

Image: Dragon Images / Bigstock

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