The Move to Universal Credit

Welfare Benefits are changing, and Universal Credit roll out could affect you soon.

Universal Credit (UC) has already been rolled out across Dumfries & Galloway with customers now claiming this in place of DWP legacy benefits. However, there are a number of customers still in receipt of old DWP legacy benefits who will now be moved over to UC.

UC is replacing six means tested 'legacy benefits' Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits.

  • At present, the planned migration to Universal Credit will initially be rolled out to Dumfries & Galloway affected customers in receipt of Tax Credits only.
  • Customers in receipt of a Tax Credit award within the current financial year will be sent a letter ('Migration Notices') inviting them to claim UC.
  • ¬∑By 2024/25 this will then be rolled out to all other customers affected by the planned migration who are in receipt of a relevant legacy benefit as per above.

How to Claim Universal Credit

  •  If you are not currently in receipt of any legacy benefits and do not meet the criteria for Housing Benefit (State Retirement Age, Temporary or Supported Accommodation) then you should consider making a claim for Universal Credit if you are on a low income. This may help to top up your earnings/income and provide additional support with Housing Costs where applicable.
  • If you are currently in receipt of a legacy benefit and have had a change in circumstances that would have previously required a claim for another legacy benefit, you will now need to make a claim for UC instead.
  • Applications for Universal Credit can be made online at the following link - Universal Credit online - Universal Credit (universal-credit.service.gov.uk).

Do I have a choice in moving to Universal Credit?

  • If you received a Migration Notice letter, then you will have to make a claim for Universal Credit within the deadline on the letter. Your Tax Credits will normally stop 3 months after this.
  • If you have not received a Migration notice are currently in receipt of Housing Benefit and move tenancy in the same Local Authority area; you can then continue to claim Housing Benefit, provided there is no break in entitlement.
  • If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit and move to another local authority this would then require you to make a new claim for housing costs under Universal Credit.

Would I be better off or worse off claiming Universal Credit?

Please note, if you have already received a Migration Notice letter then you will have to claim Universal Credit. Please do not ignore this letter.

It is likely your benefits will stop soon after this letter is received so it is important that you take appropriate action now to ensure your UC claim is promptly dealt with and payments administered accordingly.  

However, if you are currently in receipt of a legacy benefit and have yet to receive a notification then you may wish to consider if moving to Universal Credit is the right move for you.

To do a financial comparison you can access an online Benefits Calculator to gain a better understanding of how this will impact you going forward - Benefits calculators - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Aside from the financial comparisons, it is also worth noting that there are some aspects of Universal Credit which may impact and present some obstacles for customers.

Here are some examples to take into account:

  • UC is paid monthly in arrears
  • You have to wait at least 5 weeks for the first payment after a new claim
  • You are normally expected to claim online and manage your online account/journal
  • Support with housing costs is paid as part of your UC, and you then have to pay the rent yourself to the landlord (there are some exceptions where a managed payment to landlord can be applied)
  • There are more work-related requirements in UC. This will also include partners where this is a joint claim
  • After a new claim for UC, old Tax Credit arrears may be deducted from your UC
  • If your UC entitlement is lower than your 'legacy benefits' you will receive the lower entitlement. The only time you are protected from the lower entitlement is if you have the Severe Disability Premium paid with some of your legacy benefits and when 'managed migration' applies.

What is Universal Credit?

UC is a means-tested benefit for people of working age on a low income. This will be paid in monthly instalments and will be inclusive of the following eligible living supports should customers meet the criteria. This can be broken down into the following components:-

  • Standard Allowance
  • Carer's Element
  • Child Element
  • Childcare Costs Element
  • Housing Costs Element
  • Limited Capability for Work Element
  • Transitional Payment

Universal Credit will not be replacing housing costs for any of the following which is currently administered on a Local Authority basis:

  • Pension Age Housing Benefit
  • Housing Benefit in Temporary or Supported Accommodation

If I am struggling to make an application or manage my claim, who can assist me?

If you require further assistance with a claim for Universal Credit you can contact D&G Citizens Advice on 0300 303 4321.

Additional Information

Further information regarding Universal Credit can be found at the following UK Government links:


Page last updated: 18/01/2024
email icon print icon