The Government’s plan is for existing benefit claimants to eventually be migrated over to Universal Credit

You can read the following guides to learn more about this:

Guide to moving to UC

New claimants

If your claim is new then you will usually, naturally fall into the Universal Credit system.

However, there are some exceptions to this that could result in you being entitled to something called a “Transitional SDP amount”.

For example -  if you and/or your partner were claiming income-based JSA, income-based ESA or income support which included a Severe Disability Premium. 

You can tell if you are getting a Severe Disability Premium by checking a recent benefit award letter, as it should be indicated there. 

Please note: if you were only in receipt of the SDP as part of a Housing Benefit claim then you won’t then be entitled to the “transitional SDP amount”.

A transitional SDP element may not fully protect you from being worse off under UC compared to when on legacy benefits. Always get advice before applying for UC.

It is therefore very important to get advice if you are in any doubt about the above. 

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Legacy claimants

The DWP is gradually transferring people on legacy-based benefits to UC by sending them a “Migration Notice”; informing them that their means-tested benefits will end on their “migration day” and so are then invited to claim UC instead. 

If the amount of UC you are to be awarded is less than what you were getting on legacy-benefits, you will be entitled to something called a “transitional element” to compensate for this. 

The “deadline day” for claiming UC is normally 3 months from the date of receiving your “Migration Notice”. 

Existing Tax Credit claimants who receive a “Migration Notice” and who have savings, or capital more than £16,000, will not be prevented from claiming.  

After 12 months of being on UC however, normal rules will apply; meaning you may no longer be entitled to continue receiving UC if your savings are still over £16,000 at that point. 

If you haven't claimed UC by the deadline day but do so within one month of that day (known as the “final deadline”), you will still be deemed to have claimed in time to get the “transitional element” protection.