Warning for households on six legacy benefits as 180,120 have payments STOPPED – do you need to claim Universal Credit?

HOUSEHOLDS on six legacy benefits due to be replaced by Universal Credit have been issued a warning after thousands had their payments axed.

New government figures show 180,120 benefits claimants have lost out by not making the move to Universal Credit within an important three-month window.

We've explained how you can get help claiming Universal Credit below


We’ve explained how you can get help claiming Universal Credit below

Welfare rights groups have called the data “truly alarming” and have issued fresh warnings amid fears that hundreds of thousands more claimants risk having their benefits stopped in the coming months.

Two million claimants on legacy benefits are gradually making the move to Universal Credit under a process known as managed migration.

Universal Credit was set up to replace legacy benefits and kicked off in November 2022 after a successful pilot in July 2019.

As part of the process, eligible households on legacy benefits, including tax credits, are sent “migration notices” in the post which tell them how to make the move to Universal Credit as it’s not automatic.

It’s vital that households apply for Universal Credit within three months of receiving their managed migration letter.

Failing to do this can result in benefits being stopped.

Since March 2024, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has sent nearly 824,050 migration notices.

However, according to the DWP’s latest figures, 184,120 individuals lost their benefits after failing to act on migration notices received between July 2022 and March 2024.

Some 400,940 individuals have since made successful claims for Universal Credit, and another 238,990 are still in the process of transitioning.

Ayla Ozmen, director of policy and campaigns, at anti-poverty charity Z2K, said: “Despite advice and anti-poverty organisations repeatedly sounding the alarm, DWP continues to cut people off from support they’re entitled to.

“And far from taking a cautious approach, from later this year, it’s speeding up moving seriously ill and disabled people receiving Employment and Support Allowance over to Universal Credit.

“So if you receive a migration notice, it’s vital that you act.

“Either make a claim to Universal Credit, or tell the Department that you need more time.

“If you’re not sure how to claim, or are worried about how Universal Credit works, find a local advice agency to help you. But whatever you do, don’t ignore it.”

What is managed migration?

ADVICE from Ayla Ozmen, director of policy and campaigns, at anti-poverty charity Z2K.

The DWP is stopping so-called “legacy benefits” for working-age people.

That means you won’t be able to claim benefits like income-related employment and support allowance, income support, tax credits, or housing benefit (unless you’re in temporary accommodation or supported housing).

Instead, you’ll need to claim Universal Credit.

The DWP is sending everyone currently getting these benefits a letter called a “migration notice”, giving you three months to claim Universal Credit.

If you don’t claim and don’t ask DWP for more time, your legacy benefits could be stopped – even if you’re not getting Universal Credit either.

That means you might not have anything to live on, and you’ll be at risk of building up debt on important bills like rent.

If you leave it too late to claim Universal Credit, you won’t be “repaid” for the gap either.

And you could also miss out on something called the transitional element.

Some people, including many disabled people, get less money under Universal Credit than under legacy benefits.

The transitional element means that you don’t face a sudden drop when you move to Universal Credit under managed migration, but instead it reduces over time.

But if you ignore your migration notice and later claim Universal Credit, it’s treated as a brand new claim – so you get no transitional element.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group said: “Today’s ‘no-claim’ figures are truly alarming. Claimants are losing money they need while the DWP buries its head in the sand.

“The department must slow down the managed migration to UC and put in place robust support mechanisms that will enable people to move safely to UC.

“Without action from the DWP this is a disaster in-the-making.”

Experts have previously warned that managed migration poses a risk to vulnerable people who face losing money.

Top bosses at charities, including Mind, The Trussell Trust, Turn2Us and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said in 2022 that around 700,000 with mental health problems, learning disabilities, and dementia could struggle to engage with the process.

More than 20 organisations have called on the government to halt managed migration to fix flaws in the system that could cause those at risk to fall through.


In January, the government announced the number of migration notices it plans to send out in the coming financial year.

Before this date, the focus was sending migration notices to households claiming tax credits-only.

However, 110,000 income support claimants and a further 120,000 claiming tax credits with housing benefit started receiving their letters in April.

Over 100,000 Housing benefit-only claimants will then be contacted in June.

More than 90,000 people claiming employment and support allowance (ESA) along with child tax credits will start being asked to switch from July.

Meanwhile, 20,000 claimants on jobseekers allowance (JSA) will be contacted from September.

The Sun previously reported that, from August, those claiming tax credits who are over state pension age will be asked to apply for either Universal Credit or pension credit.

It was originally planned that those claiming income-related ESA alone would not be moved until 2028.

However, the DWP brought forward plans to move these households to Universal Credit by the end of 2025.

From September 2024, 800,000 households will begin to receive letters explaining how to move from ESA to Universal Credit.


As well as benefit calculators, anyone moving from tax credits to Universal Credit can find help in a number of ways.

You can visit your local Jobcentre by searching at

There’s also a free service called Help to Claim from Citizen’s Advice:

  • England: 0800 144 8 444
  • Scotland: 0800 023 2581
  • Wales: 08000 241 220

You can also get help online from advisers at

Will I be better off on Universal Credit?

Around 1.4million will be better off on Universal Credit, the government calculates.

A further 300,000 will see no change in payments, while around 900,000 will be worse off under Universal Credit.

Of these, around 600,000 are expected to get top-up payments if they move under managed migration, so they don’t lose out on cash immediately.

The majority of those – around 400,000 – are claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

Around 100,000 are on tax credits while fewer than 50,000 each on other legacy benefits are expected to be affected.

Examples of those who may be entitled to less on Universal Credit according to the government include:

  • Households getting ESA who and the Severe Disability Premium and Enhanced Disability Premium
  • Households with the lower disabled child addition on legacy benefits
  • Self-employed households who are subject to the Minimum Income Floor after the 12 month grace period has ended
  • In-work households that worked a specific number of hours (eg lone
  • parent working 16 hours claiming Working Tax Credits
  • Households receiving tax credits with savings of more than £6,000 (and up to £16,000)
  • But they could miss out on any future increase to benefits and see payments frozen.

Those who move voluntarily and are worse off won’t get these top-up payments and could lose cash.

Those who miss the deadline and later make a claim may also not get this transitional protection either.

The clock starts ticking on the three-month countdown from the date of the first letter, and reminders are sent via post and text message.

There is a one-month grace period after this, during which any claim to Universal Credit is backdated and transitional protection can still be awarded.

The most recent data from the DWP shows 61,130 individuals have made a claim for UC, and 39,920 awarded transitional protection.

Another 40,540 are still in the process of moving to the new benefit.


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