You are currently in the en section of the site.

No thank you, please close this banner.

Last updated:

What is Universal Credit transitional protection?

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.

Transitional Protection is not available to everyone on Universal Credit, find out if you can claim transitional protection and how it works.

How does Universal Credit transitional protection work?

Transitional protection was brought in alongside Universal Credit as a top-up payment, so you are not financially worse off once you have moved from your current benefits to Universal Credit.

Unfortunately, Universal Credit transitional protection only applies if you’re an existing legacy benefit claimant, and there are no changes in your circumstances.

There are three ways to claim Universal Credit:

  • New claims.
  • Natural migration.
  • Managed migration.

New claims and Natural migrant to Universal Credit

You are classed as making a new claim if you do not receive any benefits and you start a claim for Universal Credit. You are classed as a natural migrant if you get legacy benefits and you have a change of circumstances which caused you to claim Universal Credit.

Unfortunately, transitional protection is not available for you if you migrate from legacy benefits to Universal Credit by natural migration or make a new claim.

Managed migration to Universal Credit

Managed migration to Universal Credit is for anyone who is receiving legacy benefits but will have their claims transferred over to Universal Credit.

Transitional protection will be available to managed migration claimants. Managed migration is expected to start from November 2020 and completed by December 2023.

Can I claim Universal Credit transitional protection?

You can claim Universal Credit transitional protection if you’ve had a managed migration from your old legacy benefits to Universal Credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will inform you by letter when they want you to move over to Universal Credit, and what you need to do. They will give you a time limit for claiming 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.

How long will I get Universal Credit transitional protection?

You will continue to receive transitional protection for Universal Credit unless:

  • Your Universal Credit entitlement increases.
  • Your Universal Credit entitlement decreases.
  • You have a significant change in circumstances.

How does an increase in Universal Credit entitlement affect transitional protection?

If your Universal Credit entitlement increases, your transitional protection will be reduced. This will continue until your transitional protection amount is zero.

How does a significant change in circumstance affect transitional protection?

If you have a significant change in circumstance which affects your Universal Credit claim, you will lose your transitional protection entitlement immediately.

Significant changes in circumstance are:

  • A partner leaves your household.
  • A partner joins your household.
  • Your earnings drop below the level expected of you in your Claimant Commitment for three consecutive months.
  • Your Universal Credit award ends.
  • You or your partner stop working.

Once your Universal Credit transitional protection has ended, it will not be applied to any future Universal Credit claim.

Managed Migration vs. Natural Migration: Which is better for me?

The DWP now expect most migrations to Universal Credit (UC) to be “natural migrations”. As “natural migration” offers no transitional protection, you could be worse off if you are naturally migrated to UC.

Only managed migrations come with transitional protection.

Always seek guidance from a Welfare and Benefits Advisor before transferring to Universal Credit.

Share this article

Within this subject

Universal Credit Mental Health Guide

Introduction to Universal Credit


Is this article helpful to you?

Was this article helpful to you?

Please tell us more

For urgent help, please see Help & contacts