Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.

Managed Migration - misleading media message?


The selection of legacy benefit claimants for mandatory, managed migration onto Universal Credit re-started from 9th May 2022.

Reading the recent media coverage about the re-start you might have thought that this was now up and running across the whole of the UK and that existing legacy benefit claimants will need to make the move over to UC in the next few months.

But this is far from the truth. Managed migration has started on a very small scale, although it will increase over time.

Important! Some legacy benefit claimants might misunderstand the messages and think they are expected to move over to UC now. But they do not have to unless they receive a ‘migration notice’(or have certain changes in their circumstances).

What is managed migration?

Managed migration is the last phase of the introduction of Universal Credit.

Rather than waiting for existing legacy benefit claimants to make the move over to UC because they have a change in their circumstances that triggers a claim, or because they are better off and choose to claim – they are starting to ‘invite’ people to move on to it.

But they are doing so slowly and do not expect this planned migration to be finished until the end of 2024!

On 9th May 2022 the DWP announced that managed migration would initially only start in two areas of the UK – Bolton and Medway – and to start with only 500 claimants would be contacted.

Legacy benefit claimants chosen to be part of this process will be issued with a formal ‘migration notice’. They will need to claim Universal Credit within 3 months of the letter being issued. Even if they fail to make a claim for UC their existing legacy benefits will eventually stop.

As long as they make their claim for UC within given time limits they will be entitled to ‘Transitional Protection’ if their UC award is lower than their legacy benefit entitlement.

The latest DWP statistics show that 35% of existing legacy benefit claimants will be worse off on UC.

BUT this ‘Transitional Protection’ is only available to those who claim Universal Credit after receiving a ‘migration notice’ – so if they are part of that 35% and  claim too soon, they would be worse off.

So which legacy benefit claimants have to claim UC?

  • Many claimants have been ‘naturally migrating’ to Universal Credit. This means they have had a change in their circumstances which means they needed financial support and the only/best option available to them was Universal Credit.
    This is complicated and many claimants are told they need to claim when they have other options. You can use our Need2Claim? mapping tool. This natural migration will continue.


  • Some claimants are moving over to Universal Credit because they are financially better off.
    But there is a lot to consider – and anyone who is thinking about claiming UC when they don’t have to should speak to a benefits adviser first.
    Watch out for our soon to be released $Betteror4Worse? Calculator.


  • No other legacy benefit claimant needs to claim Universal Credit unless they receive a managed migration notice.


How can we help our customers?

At the moment the important message is that if they haven’t received a managed migration notice (or had certain changes in their circumstances) then they do not need to claim Universal Credit yet.

And if they have, to speak to a benefits adviser before they make their UC claim.

What help can a benefits adviser give someone who has received a managed migration notice?

They should be able to:

  • Explain the migration process and time limits
  • Work out the best time within the allocated 3 month window for them to claim UC and potentially maximise entitlement
  • Explain what will happen to their existing benefits
  • Explain how UC works and what it means for them
  • Work out their likely UC entitlement and provide tips to ensure their award is assessed correctly from the start
  • Consider any known existing debts and consider the impact of deductions on the UC award
  • If they will be entitled to Transitional Protection, explain how works and in particular when it is eroded (and can mean no extra income despite extra responsibilities eg having a baby), and lost
  • Consider the need to apply for a DHP – in particular for those affected by the Benefit Cap who could be worse off on UC and will not receive Transitional Protection
  • Ensure they (and their family) are claiming all the support they are entitled to.



John is in receipt of Income-Related ESA, Housing Benefit and Personal Independence Payment. He contacts a benefits adviser when he receives his migration notice. After a chat, the benefits adviser explains that he should wait until after he has moved house (within the LA area) in a few weeks time before he claims Universal Credit. John will be entitled to Transitional Protection (TP). If he claims UC before the move then the increase in his Housing Costs Element will erode the TP and will not receive any extra UC to help pay the increase in his rent.

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