When will i have to claim?

If there are no changes in circumstances then there is no need to claim Universal Credit.f you have a change in circumstances that means you would normally be looking to make a new claim for one of these benefits, you may have to claim Universal Credit instead.

If you do not have a change in your circumstances then you will not have to claim Universal Credit unless you are invited to do so by the DWP – who will then issue you with a ‘managed migration’ notice. But this may not happen until 2024.

New claims for Universal Credit can now be made throughout the UK.

But, you will only need to claim Universal Credit if a change in your circumstances means you would normally need to make a new claim for any of the benefits which are being replaced by Universal Credit. And if you are not protected by the ‘Severe Disability Premium Gateway’ rules.

You may need to claim if:

  • You are moving to a new Local Authority are and need help with your rent.
  • You are finishing work and have no source of income.
  • You are separating from your partner.
  • You become unfit for work.

But the following changes do not normally trigger a new claim for Universal Credit:

  • Moving within the Local Authority area – when you are already getting Housing Benefit and not having any other change in circumstances.
  • Getting some Tax Credits and have a change in your circumstances that would mean more / less Tax Credits such as having a baby, or starting work.

IMPORTANT: If you are told you have to claim Universal Credit – seek advice immediately from a benefits adviser to make sure this is your best / only option.

What if my circumstances don’t change?

If you are already getting one or more of the benefits which are being replaced by Universal Credit (and you continue to be entitled to these) and you do not have a change in your circumstances that triggers a claim for Universal Credit, you may not need to claim Universal Credit until the ‘migration’ stage, sometime between 2019 and 2025.

Can I chose to claim Universal Credit?

If you meet the key claiming rules then you can claim Universal Credit now – but seek advice before you do.

Unless you come under the Severe Disability Premium Gateway rules you can choose to move onto Universal Credit at any time – you do not need to wait until a change in your circumstances means you have to.

You should get advice before making the claim to make sure you are not going to be worse off!

You’ll also need to think about:

  • Whether you (or your partner) would have to look for work as a condition of receiving UC.
  • What deductions might be taken – reducing the amount you’ll receive.
  • Paying your rent yourself (if you have Housing Benefit paid directly to your landlord).
  • Do you have an email address, and mobile phone number?
  • Will you need to open a bank account?
  • Do you have regular access to the internet?
  • Whether you’ll manage budgeting your money monthly.
  • If you work then consider how UC work for you, especially if you need help with your childcare cost – as you will need to pay for these upfront.

Frequently Asked Questions