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Universal credit changes: Here's what you need to know

More than 2.6 million UK households will be moved from ‘old-style’ benefits to Universal Credit starting from today (May 9th).

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The government has been slowly moving households who receive Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit and similar benefits to Universal Credit through a mandatory migration process.

While the change will initially affect 500 households, the aim is to consolidate all benefits recipients under one system, in a switch due to be completed by December 2024.

James Andrews, Senior Personal Finance Editor at money.co.uk, said: “Anyone receiving ‘old-style’ benefits could see their payments change from today.

“If you’re currently receiving Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Income Related Employment or Support Allowance or Housing Benefit, you will be switched to Universal Credit by December 2024.

“Initially this will only affect 500 households, however more households will be moved in the coming months.

“Anyone who has had a recent change of circumstances, such as moving home or having a baby, may find themselves switched sooner.

“Once you receive a migration notice in the post you will have a three-month deadline to apply for Universal Credit. If you don’t make a claim for Universal Credit within this time, your current benefits will automatically stop.

“Everyone will be moved over eventually, so it’s worth working out how much you could be entitled to under Universal Credit

“Universal Credit is a monthly allowance from the government, to help you cover basic necessities like food, rent and bills. If you are over the age of 18, unemployed, or on low income, you can apply for Universal Credit through the government website.

“Sites like EntitledTo and Turn2Us let you find out your benefit entitlement under Universal Credit in less than 10 minutes - all you need to do is answer a series of simple questions about your living and working situations.

“If you are eligible, then monthly payments will vary between £344 and £596.58, depending on your circumstances. A single payment is paid into your bank account each month if you live in England or Wales, although you can apply for an alternative payment arrangement if you need additional support. In Scotland and Northern Ireland there is the option of payment every two weeks.

“For more information about what Universal Credit is and how it works, use money.co.uk’s comprehensive guide here: https://www.money.co.uk/guides/what-is-universal-credit.htm.”


About James Andrews

James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.

View James Andrews's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.