Universal Credit has now finished being rolled out across the UK. This means that in every area, almost all new claims for benefit will now be for Universal Credit instead of tax credits, Housing Benefit or out-of-work benefits like Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.
The only group that can't currently make a new claim for Universal Credit are those receiving the Severe Disability Premium (see our guide to SDP). The government announced in January 2019 that the rules have been changed to exclude anyone receiving a SDP from making a new claim for Universal Credit until managed migration (see below) begins, this is so that they can be eligible to receive transitional protection.
As well as all new benefit claimants (except those receiving SDP), people already on benefits who have a change of circumstance such as starting or leaving a job, or a partner leaving or joining the household, will have to claim Universal Credit. This is known as 'natural migration'. See our What changes might trigger a move to Universal Credit guide for more information on this.
Now the rollout is complete, existing benefits and tax credits claimants who do not have a change of circumstance (see our What changes might trigger a move to Universal Credit guide) will start to be asked to claim Universal Credit through a process known as 'managed migration'. A small number will start managed migration over to UC in January 2019 but the majority won't start to be migrated over to UC until July 2019 at the earliest. The government expects to finish moving existing benefit and tax credit claimants onto Universal Credit by March 2023.
From 11 April 2018, if you are transferring from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit your Housing Benefit payment will continue for an extra 2 weeks after the start of the Universal Credit claim. This extra 2 weeks of Housing Benefit is to help with your housing costs while you wait for your first payment of Universal Credit, which will take at least five weeks. The payment will be made automatically when you apply for Universal Credit and you don't need to pay it back. It also won't affect how much Universal Credit you get.
For more information about Universal Credit please see our Universal Credit guide.