Transitional protection

Universal Credit: Transitional Protection

If you would get less money under Universal Credit than your current benefits, you can receive a top-up payment so that you do not lose out. This is called 'transitional protection'.

How does transitional protection work?

Transitional protection is a top-up payment so that you do not lose out because of the introduction of Universal Credit. It means that, in cash terms, you cannot receive less than your current benefits. However this top-up payment will be frozen so you will be gradually worse off over time as this payment is eroded by inflation. And you need to be aware that certain changes of circumstances will bring transitional protection to an end.

Who can get transitional protection?

Transitional protection only applies if you are an existing claimant and there are no changes in your circumstances. Relevant changes in circumstance are those which would have previously meant a new claim for income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or tax credits.

There are three kinds of claim for Universal Credit:

  • New claims e.g. when someone not currently on benefits loses their job and makes a new claim for UC
  • Natural migration, when you are on benefits but have a change of circumstance which triggers a new claim for UC, e.g. when a partner moves in/out
  • Managed migration, when your circumstances haven't changed so DWP initiates your transfer onto UC 

DWP’s claim that “no one will be worse off” when moved on to UC only applies for the third kind of claim - “managed migration”. 

Can I lose my transitional protection?

Transitional protection will end if, for example:

  • a partner leaves or joins the household
  • a sustained (three-month) earnings drop beneath the level of work that is expected according to their claimant commitment
  • the universal credit award ends
  • one (or both) members of the household stop work

Once transitional protection has ended it will not be applied to any future awards.

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