Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
Routes to UC: Managed Migration


This section only applies to legacy benefit claimants who have received a 'Migration Notice' from the DWP.

If this is not the case, any claim for UC will be under Natural or Voluntary Migration (so they will have no Transitional Protection).
For more information about the different ‘Routes to UC’ see here.

Click on the the buttons for more information.

The DWP's current plan is to have all households claiming legacy benefits moved across to UC by the end of 2029:

  • 2023/24 - Tax Credit-only claimants (plus a small 'Discovery Phase' of other claimants)
  • 2024/25 - All other Tax Credit claimants and those on Income Support, Income-Based JSA or just Housing Benefit
  • 2028/29 All remaining Income-Related ESA claimants.

Before the pandemic, the DWP were running a Move to UC pilot, based in Harrogate. The purpose of the pilot was to test and evaluate the products and processes required to enable the DWP to move claimants from legacy benefits to UC. The pilot was paused in 2020 in response to the Covid pandemic.

During the pandemic they received a huge number of new UC claims and some processes were changed as a result.

In May 2022 the DWP decided to start the process of transferring the 2.6 million households remaining on legacy benefits to UC. Their decision was to start small and slow so that they could further monitor and understand what support claimants needed to make a successful move on UC.

During 2022 several areas across the UK were chosen to be a part of this 'Discovery Phase': Bolton, Medway, Turo, Falmouth, Harrow, Hexham and Berwick-upon-tweed. 

In 2023/24 Managed Migration has started to roll out across the UK - but for Tax Credit-only claimants.

Some claimants are receiving multiple communications about the move to UC. If they are worse off on UC they will only receive any Transitional Protection they are entitled to if they make their UC claim after they have received their Migration Notice. Claim earlier and they could lose out. 

That is why we thought it was important for advisers to be aware of what a Migration Notice looks like.

The current group receiving Migration Notices are Tax Credit-only claimants ie those whose only legacy benefit is either Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit or both.

There are some extra considerations for these claimants:

  • Conditionality
  • How the Transitional Element is calculated
  • If they are self-employed
  • If they are due a large payment from work
  • If they could be affected by the Benefit Cap

When chosen to be manage migrated over to UC the claimant has to actively engage with the process.

They will receive a 'migration notice' which will 'invite' them to make a claim for UC.

They will need to make a claim UC before the deadline given in the letter. They make that claim in the same way as any other new claimant.

Their legacy benefit will be brought to end - either when they make a claim for UC, or if they fail to do so, when the deadline is reached.

Failure to claim UC within the deadlines given will mean losing out.

NOTE: some claimant's with special circumstances are currently excluded or being deferred from being part of the managed migration process. 

The DWP guidance list those claimants that should not be being sent 'migration notices'. 

Where they do, they may be able to request the Notice be cancelled or deferred.

It is really important that after receiving their 'migration notice' a legacy benefit claimant makes their claim for UC within the time limits given, otherwise they will:

  • See a gap in benefit payments between their legacy benefits ending and UC starting, and
  • Loose any Transitional Protection they were entitled to.

IMPORTANT: There is a three month 'window' within which they can make their claim for UC. For some, the timing of that claim could affect how much UC they then receive. So everyone who has received a 'migration notice' should seek advice form a Welfare Benefits Adviser to see if there is a best time to make that claim within that period

Transitional Protection is only available to those who are selected for Managed Migration. Anyone whose changing circumstances trigger the need for them to claim UC, and is therefore ‘migrating naturally’ will not get protection if they are worse off financially on UC.

To be entitled the claimant will need to have made an 'in time' claim for UC after receiving a 'migration notice'.

Transitional Protection is available in the form of:

  • A Transitional Element - for those worse off on UC at the point of claim, and/or
  • A Transitional Capital Disregard - for 12 Monthly Assessment Periods for those Tax Credit claimants with savings of £16,000 or more, and/or
  • Allowing some students who are receiving one or more legacy benefits, but would otherwise be excluded from UC, to claim it and if entitled receiving payments until their course has finished.

A claimant could receive one or more of these.

When someone has received a 'migration notice' inviting them to claim UC, they then have up to 3 months to make that claim. 

They need to consider whether there is a 'best' time for them to claim to maximise their benefit entitlement. Timing can make a big difference to their UC award.

IMPORTANT: For some claimants more than one of the issues that impact on the timing of a claim may affect them. In these cases they need to be aware of all the implications before making a decision when to claim.

There are various Managed Migration related terms used by the DWP and in the Regulations.

Have you seen our Checklist for Advisers?

Our Checklist will help you advise a Tax Credit-only claimant who has received a Managed Migration Notice - to make sure they make a successful move on UC.

Click here to see the leaflet
(Also available in Welsh)

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