Department for Work and Pensions
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Half a million more benefit claimants set to benefit from back to work support as Universal Credit expands

Half a million people claiming old benefits will be invited to claim Universal Credit, unlocking all the work support it offers.

  • Expansion of move to Universal Credit will help 500,000 more people unlock the employment support on offer.
  • Letters will be sent to people on certain benefits notifying them of the action they need to take.
  • People on Universal Credit are more likely to have a job within six months of making a claim.

More than 130,000 people have already successfully switched from tax credits to the modern digital Universal Credit system which allows claimants to access their benefits more easily and amend their claim should their circumstances change.

The expansion this year will continue for people claiming:

  • Income Support and Tax Credits with Housing Benefit from April
  • Housing Benefit only from June
  • ESA (Income Based) with Child Tax Credit from July
  • Tax Credits (Pension Aged including mixed aged couples) from August
  • JSA (Income Based) from September

Universal Credit helps people move closer to work and greater financial security through a range of support – including training placements and upskilling – as well as tailored support from a dedicated Work Coach.

Recent findings have shown Universal Credit claimants are more likely to be in work within six months of making a claim.

The move comes as the DWP’s £2.5 billion Back to Work Plan is set to help over a million people, including those with disabilities and long-term health conditions to break down barriers to work.

Minister for Employment, Jo Churchill MP yesterday said:

Universal Credit is a proven benefits system fit for the modern age.

With even more people moving to Universal Credit, we can continue to provide the best level of support for people to secure financial independence through work.

I would encourage all those who receive their Migration Notices to take action to ensure they continue to receive the benefits they are entitled to.

By moving to Universal Credit, benefit claimants, including those with limited work requirements, will be able to access to a range of employment support.

We know one in five people currently on the highest tier of incapacity benefits with no work preparation requirement, would like to work in the future with the right support. We’re helping them do this not just though Universal Credit, but with specialist employment support, record levels of mental health provision and the Chance to Work Guarantee, meaning millions can try work free from the fear that they could lose their benefits.

Recent data shows working age adults living in workless households are around seven times more likely to be in absolute poverty than those in households where all adults work, while children living in workless households are six times more likely than those where all adults work.

Benefit claimants will not lose out financially when moving to Universal Credit. Where an individual’s entitlement to Universal Credit is lower than their legacy benefit entitlement, they will be entitled to a top-up payment known as Transitional Protection. This ensures that their Universal Credit is the same as their legacy benefit entitlement.

People will soon start to receive letters – known as Migration Notices – asking them to move to Universal Credit. Recipients who don’t act within three months risk losing their current benefit entitlements.

Additional support is available through a dedicated helpline for claimants who receive a Migration Notices, via face-to-face support in local Jobcentres and independent support through Help to Claim, delivered by Citizens Advice while extensions can be arranged for those who need more time to make a claim.

Paul from Ashington is one of thousands of claimants who has already successfully made the move and benefited from the support provided to help make the move.  

Paul yesterday said:

I was so worried about having to move to Universal Credit, because I thought I would be pushed into a job search I didn’t feel comfortable or ready for. The move has been made easy because of the support and help I received from my Work Coach, Pauline.

Moving to Universal Credit has been so much easier than I expected. I’ve been able to keep on top of my payments and I’m now closer than ever to finding work!

The expansion of Universal Credit comes as part of the Government’s plan to make sure work always pays, with a huge boost to the National Living Wage and tax cuts worth an average of £900 for 29 million hardworking people.

Additional Information

  • Migration Notices will be issued to all legacy benefit types, apart from ESA claimants, over the next six months.
  • Evidence to date shows that most Tax Credit claimants have been able to claim Universal Credit without the need for additional support.
  • Since the resumption of Managed Migration some claimants have naturally moved to Universal Credit following a change in their circumstances and claimants have always been able to make a claim for Universal Credit if they wish to do so. 
  • The DWP has recently launched a Move to UC advertising campaign to notify legacy benefit claimants of the need to make a claim to Universal Credit which includes print, radio, and online advertising.
  • Claimants can claim Universal Credit directly online or via the dedicated Universal Credit Migration Notice helpline for free on 0800 169 0328 or by visiting your local jobcentre. Claimants that require more time to claim can also call DWP for free on 0800 169 0328.  
  • For claimants requiring additional support to complete their application support is available including through Citizens Advice Help to Claim for those living in England or Wales and Citizens Advice Scotland Help to Claim for those living in Scotland, which delivers step by step support to complete a UC claim.


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