Universal Credit to be fully rolled out in Great Britain by 2024

On 25 April 2022 Dr Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, made a statement in the House of Commons regarding the continued roll out of Universal Credit in Great Britain. This process involves benefits claimants who are currently in receipt of ‘legacy’ benefits such as Tax Credits, Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, and Housing Benefit moving – known as ‘migrating’ – to Universal Credit. The Government hopes to have everyone moved from the legacy benefits and onto Universal Credit by 2024.

This migration process is also ongoing in Northern Ireland, however because social security is a devolved matter for Northern Ireland, the Universal Credit and benefits system is managed slightly differently to elsewhere in the UK. There has not yet been an equivalent time frame given for the process of moving legacy benefits claimants living in Northern Ireland to Universal Credit.

The Government estimates that there are around 2.6 million households receiving legacy benefits who will need to move across to Universal Credit, of which an estimated 1.4 million (55%) would actually receive a higher entitlement if they were claiming Universal Credit than on their current benefits and so would benefit from moving.

In the meantime, some claimants may move ‘naturally’ due to a change in circumstances meaning that they have to claim a new form of support, or will be better off on the new scheme, and so move on to Universal Credit either by necessity or choice.

For others, the Government will have a process in place where claimants will be moved onto Universal Credit and – if their entitlement is less than the amount they were receiving through their legacy benefits – ‘transitional protection’ will be provided for eligible households. This means those households will see no difference in their monetary entitlement at the point they are moved to Universal Credit, provided there is no change in their circumstances during the migration process.

We are here to help

In all circumstances if you are considering moving to Universal Credit from your existing benefits you should first seek independent advice. Employers For Childcare’s Family Benefits Advice Service can calculate what your Universal Credit entitlement will be to ensure you make an informed decision about what is the best form of support in your household circumstances. For confidential advice contact an advisor on Freephone 0800 028 3008 or email hello@employersforchildcare.org.