Tax credits are coming to an end and being replaced by Universal Credit. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are sending out Universal Credit Migration Notices to households affected by the change.
The two forms of tax credits, working tax credits and child tax credit, will no longer exist by the end of next year replaced instead by Universal Credit.
If you are aged 65 or over and claiming tax credits, you will be asked to apply for Universal Credit or Pension Credit, depending on your circumstances.
The move won’t be automatic so it is important to act quickly and follow the instructions from the migration notices to continue to receive your benefits. To continue to receive financial support, you will need to claim Universal Credit by the deadline stated in your Migration Notice letter, even if you have already renewed your tax credits claim.
Universal Credit is a benefits system for people in work, looking for work or unable to work. It brings together six previous benefits – child tax credit, working tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and income-related employment and support allowance (ESA).
Most tax credits claimants should be eligible for Universal Credit and may also be eligible for further support to help cover the costs of housing and childcare. It can give you access to a work coach who can give you tailored guidance on improving your skills and progressing at work.
There are a few steps you can take to get ready for the move to Universal Credit:
- Use an independent benefits calculator to estimate how much you could get on Universal Credit. These are free to use and anonymous. If the amount you are entitled to on your existing benefits is more than what you will get on Universal Credit, where eligible, you can receive a top up amount called Transitional Protection.
- Check your savings – if you are currently claiming Tax Credits and have savings over £16,000 in money or investments, you can still be eligible for Universal Credit for one year after you move across.
- See how any outstanding money you may owe could be recovered by Universal Credit – this may include tax credits overpayments.
It is important to wait for your Migration Notice letter before you switchover to Universal Credit and follow the instructions closely.
If you are struggling with money, or worried about managing your finances while moving to Universal Credit, it may be possible to apply for an advance payment to help while you wait for your first payment.
For support on moving to Universal Credit you can contact your local benefits advisor for independent, tailored guidance.