Universal credit: Moving areas
Once a person becomes entitled to UC, they stay on it even if their circumstances change or they move to a non-UC area (where it has not yet been introduced). This applies within Great Britain. Sometimes this is referred to as the ‘lobster pot’ principle. In live service areas, once entitled to UC, the gateway conditions are not relevant so if a person has a change of circumstances that means they no longer meet one of the gateway conditions it will not necessarily affect their entitlement to UC (unless it is a change that also affects entitlement to UC).
Unfortunately the position on moving areas is not that clear and we are seeking further information from DWP.
Moving from a digital area to a live service area
Our understanding is that if you claim UC in a digital area and move to a live service area, you will remain classified as a ‘digital service claimant’ meaning that the digital rules would continue to apply.
However, it does appear that a claimant in this situation could withdraw their UC claim and reclaim tax credits (see above for more information on the factors to consider if contemplating this).
Moving from a live service area to a digital area
It is not clear what happens to someone who claims UC in a live service area and then moves to a digital area and whether they would become a ‘digital service claimant’ and be subject to slightly different rules. We are seeking clarification on this point.
However what is clear is that once a claimant moves from a live service area to a digital area, they cannot withdraw their UC claim and claim tax credits because HMRC would reject the claim as they are living in a digital postcode.
Updated 9 March 2016