Move to Universal Credit update for Northern Ireland
The next stage of households in Northern Ireland moving from Tax Credits to Universal Credit begins in October.
Current benefit claimants throughout the UK are gradually being moved onto Universal Credit from the old benefit system. This means that families who are in receipt of the ‘legacy benefits’ such as Tax Credits, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Job Seeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit will be contacted to tell them when this change will happen. This is known as ‘managed migration’.
What is happening in Northern Ireland?
In Northern Ireland, from 16 October 2023, households who are in receipt of Working Tax Credits and/or Child Tax Credit and none of the other benefits listed above will receive a Migration Notice letter from the Department for Communities. The Migration Notice letter will tell them that they will need to make a claim to Universal Credit within 3 months from the date of their letter.
If you think this change may affect you it is very important that you do not take any action unless you receive a Migration Notice Letter from the Department for Communities.
Transitional Protection – what does this mean?
Anyone who makes a claim for Universal Credit after receiving a Migration Notice letter will have their benefit entitlement protected through Transitional Protection. This means if you have had no change in your circumstances, except moving from the legacy benefits to Universal Credit, you will not have any reduction in the amount of money you receive at the point in time that you move to Universal Credit. Any reduction in their entitlement that there may have been, due to moving from the old benefits, will be covered by an extra government payment paid in addition to Universal Credit. This is why it is important that you do not take any action unless you receive a Migration Notice letter from the Department for Communities.
The Department for Communities will have a dedicated telephony team to provide the additional help and support, details of how to contact this team will be included in the Migration Notice letter. In addition, people will be advised that they can contact their local Jobs and Benefits office for help and support. Information will also be available from 9 October 2023 on the nidirect website.
If you think that this may affect you or members of your family and would like further advice on how this could affect any entitlement to financial support now or in the future, contact our Family Benefits Advice Service for free, impartial and confidential advice. Call us on Freephone 0800 028 3008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – we are here to help.