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Last updated:
01/04/2020

What benefits is Universal Credit replacing?

Universal Credit is gradually replacing certain benefits. If you currently receive one of those legacy benefits, you'll have to move onto Universal Credit by 2023. Find out which benefits Universal Credit is replacing.

Universal Credit is replacing the following six means-tested legacy benefits:

Most people are no longer able to make a new claim for legacy benefits and will need to apply for Universal Credit.

If you're currently claiming a legacy benefit, how and when you move to Universal Credit is determined by:

  • Whether you have to make a new claim because of a change in circumstances. This is known as natural migration to Universal Credit.
  • Nothing has changed, but the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have asked you to start claiming Universal Credit. This is called managed migration to Universal Credit.

If you would prefer, you can choose to apply for Universal Credit instead of your current legacy benefit. However, you will not be able to return to the benefit it is replacing.

What are the differences between Universal Credit and legacy benefits?

Universal Credit works differently from the legacy benefits. It is essential that you know the differences between them. The most significant differences are:

  • You can receive Universal Credit if you're either unemployed or employed.
  • A single payment is made monthly, rather than weekly or fortnightly.
  • Unlike housing benefit, your rent will be paid into your account as part of your monthly Universal Credit payment.

Moving to Universal Credit because your circumstances have changed

If you currently claim a legacy benefit but your work, home or family situation has changed, you might need to move on to Universal Credit - known as natural migration.

You should report a change in circumstances immediately. If you don't report a change and you're judged to have been paid too much, you will have to pay the money back in the future and may receive an additional penalty charge.

A change in circumstances could be:

  • A partner leaves your household.
  • A partner joins your household.
  • You or your partner's employment status, such as starting a new job, or increasing or decreasing your hours.
  • You move house to a new local authority.
  • You start/stop becoming a carer.
  • You start/stop a claim based on a disability.

If you have to make a new claim for Universal Credit because of a change in circumstances, transitional protection is not available for you. This means you could receive more or less than you do with your legacy benefit.

Your old benefits will stop once you claim Universal Credit. If you currently claim Housing Benefit, however, you will be paid for an extra two weeks after you make your claim to avoid the risk of rent arrears while waiting for your first Universal Credit payment.

Moving to Universal Credit if your circumstances don't change

If your circumstances haven't changed and you currently claim benefits which are being replaced by Universal Credit, you will be asked by the DWP to claim Universal Credit.

This is known as managed migration to Universal Credit and is expected to start by November 2020 and completed by December 2023.

Transitional protection will be available to managed migration claimants. Universal Credit transitional protection is a top-up award which ensures you are not financially worse off when your benefits are moved onto Universal Credit.

If your Universal Credit payment is less than your current legacy benefit entitlement, you will automatically receive transitional protection to top up your Universal Credit.

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