Will I be better off on Universal Credit? How to check as millions moved over by DWP

By Staff

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) claims 1.4million people (55%) will be better off on Universal Credit, and 900,000 (35%) would be worse off, while the rest will see no change

More than two million people on old-style “legacy” benefits are being gradually moved over to Universal Credit.

The majority of people will be moved across to Universal Credit by the end of March 2025, as part of a process called “managed migration”. You’ll be sent a “migration notice” in the post which will give you three months to move over to Universal Credit – or you could lose your current benefits.

But if you believe you’ll be better off on Universal Credit, you could decide to move over early. You need to do your research first though, as you won’t be able to move back to your old-style benefits once you’ve made the move. Universal Credit is replacing the following six benefits:

Those who claim income-related ESA and do not get Tax Credits will be moved over to Universal Credit slightly later, and will be transferred across by 2028.

Will I be better off on Universal Credit?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) claims 1.4million people (55%) will be better off on Universal Credit, and 900,000 (35%) would be worse off. The other 300,000 benefit claimants will see no change. You should use one of the following free benefit calculators to get a rough idea about whether you will be better on Universal Credit:

Once you’ve used one of these calculators, always seek expert advice first before switching to Universal Credit. Don’t rely on just what these calculators tell you, in case you have inputted any information wrong. They will be able to double check your benefit entitlement and tell you if you’re better off moving now, or waiting.

You can normally apply for Universal Credit through the GOV.UK website. Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit will stop as soon as you put in your Universal Credit claim, but other benefits will carry on for an additional two weeks.

What happens if I won’t be better off on Universal Credit?

If you are moved over to Universal Credit through managed migration, and you’ll be worse off, you will get monthly transition payments to cover any financial shortfall. The transitional protection lasts until there is no difference between the amount awarded under Universal Credit and what you received before under legacy benefits.

You only get the transitional payments if you are moved across by the DWP through the “managed migration” process. Again, always speak to a benefits advisor if you are unsure of how your payments will be affected.

I’ll be better off on Universal Credit – but what else should I be aware of?

Even if you’re going to be better off on Universal Credit, there are still other things to consider before you’re moved across, or if you do decide to switch early. For example, Universal Credit is paid monthly, so keep this in mind if you’re used to getting your benefits more frequently. You will also have to wait five weeks for your first payment.

You should also be aware of any job commitments that come with Universal Credit – for example, many people are expected to spend up to 35 hours a week applying for jobs. You should know what is expected when you sign your claimant commitment.

If you already work, keep in mind your Universal Credit can fluctuate each month depending on how much you earn in your assessment period. Finally, if you have debts, up to 25% of your Universal Credit standard allowance can be deducted to pay off money owed to council tax, energy, rent, and child maintenance.

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