Everything You Need to Know About Universal Credit Replacing Six Legacy Benefits

Everything You Need to Know About Universal Credit Replacing Six Legacy Benefits

Universal Credit (UC) has emerged as the new ‘catch-all’ benefit, replacing the six legacy benefits including: Housing Benefit, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Child Tax Credits (CTC), Working Tax Credits (WTC) and Income Support.

Julie Murphy

Anyone on one of these legacy benefits will be moved over to UC automatically (in most cases, by the end of 2024), through a process called ‘managed migration’. But you can choose to switch earlier if you want. Because it’s a bit different from the benefits it’s replacing, some people can end up better off on Universal Credit than with their current combination of benefits. 

Accessing Potential Benefits

a) Likely Better Off on Universal Credit:

– Most individuals who work and rent.

– Some higher-earning individuals who do not rent.

– Those with significant childcare costs, especially those incurring higher monthly expenses.

b) Likely Worse Off on Universal Credit:

– Individuals not currently in employment.

– Individuals working but not paying rent.

– Self-employed individuals earning less than the “minimum income floor.”

– Individuals with savings exceeding £16,000.

– Some individuals with disabilities or caring responsibilities.

Proceeding with Caution 

While Universal Credit may offer advantages for certain demographics, rushing into the switch without proper research and benefit advice can lead to unfavorable outcomes. Some individuals may end up worse off if they switch early, and reversing the decision is not an option. Therefore, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough benefit calculation to assess entitlement before considering a switch.

Individualized Calculations 

The amount received on Universal Credit is intricately tied to factors such as earnings, savings, housing, and household circumstances. Even individuals of the same age and similar earnings may experience significant variations in the benefits they receive. Completing a benefit calculation tailored to your specific situation is vital.

Financial Planning for Transition  

If contemplating a switch to Universal Credit, it’s essential to anticipate a waiting period of around five weeks before the first payment. For those unable to wait, an interest-free loan, known as an advance, may be an option. This is paid back through automatic deductions, from your Universal Credit payment but remember you cannot switch back.

Managing the Timeline  

The transition to Universal Credit is scheduled to occur by December 2024 for most recipients, with some potentially waiting until 2029. Staying informed about the timeline and proactively managing the shift is vital for smooth integration.

Seek Expert Advice 

To navigate this complex transition successfully, it is advisable to seek expert advice. You can call us at 0808 800 9060, and our expert advisers are available to provide guidance on the best course of action based on individual circumstances.