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Universal Credit roll out

New claims for Universal Credit

Universal Credit has now finished being rolled out for new claims across the UK. This means that in every area, almost all new claims for benefit will now be for Universal Credit instead of what are called the 'legacy' benefits: tax credits, Housing Benefit or out-of-work benefits like Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.

Migration onto Universal Credit

Natural migration

As well as all new benefit claimants, 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.

Managed migration

Existing legacy claimants who do not have a change of circumstance will start to be asked to claim Universal Credit through a process known as managed migration. One of the effects of going through this process is that people who would receive less under Universal Credit will receive a top-up payment called Transitional Protection.

Claimants do not have to move to Universal Credit if they have not received a Migration Notice. However, the government expects to finish moving all existing benefit and tax credit claimants (except for those claiming ESA) onto Universal Credit by the end of 2024.

Voluntary migration

Any legacy benefit claimant is also able to move at any time they choose by voluntarily claiming Universal Credit. Starting a claim for Universal Credit will cause the old benefits to end and there is no going back, so care must be taken when choosing this route.

This choice may be good for some claimants as they will be entitled to more support under Universal Credit but many claimants will also be entitled to less. Anyone considering this option should seek further advice before moving.

Run-on payments when moving to Universal Credit

Anyone transferring from Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance to Universal Credit will continue to receive their existing benefit(s) for an extra two weeks after the start of the Universal Credit claim. This is called a run-on payment.

This extra two weeks is to help with housing costs while they wait for their first payment of Universal Credit, which will take at least five weeks. The payment will be made automatically when they apply for Universal Credit and they don't need to pay it back. It also won't affect how much Universal Credit they get.

Further information

For more information about Universal Credit please see our Universal Credit guide.