Universal credit: Transitional protection

Transitional protection – managed migration
Transitional SDP element

Transitional protection managed migration

The Government have said that anyone that is ‘managed migrated’ over to Universal Credit in the formal exercise by DWP will not lose out in cash terms at the point they are moved where their circumstances remain the same. In order to ensure this happens, if the UC award is less than the total being received under the legacy benefits, the new UC award (upon managed migration) will include a transitional protection in the form of an additional amount to broadly make up the difference between UC amount awarded and what the claimant was receiving in total from legacy benefits (for example tax credits).

The managed migration process, including the calculation of transitional protection, is to be trialled under a pilot phase to start with. This started in July 2019 and was to run until July 2020 but the pilot was suspended in March 2020 due to the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. It is not clear when it will re-commence.

The migration regulations were published in July 2019 (Northern Ireland equivalent).  The regulations for the pilot are the same as those previously published in draft form in November 2018, however they also include a limit on the number of cases that can be migrated under the pilot (test) phase. This means no more than 10,000 claimants can be moved across as part of the pilot and under these regulations.

It has been confirmed that Parliament will be given a further vote before the migration exercise is scaled up to the remaining legacy benefit caseload.

DWP's intention was to take remaining tax credit claimants (and other legacy benefit claimants) through the managed migration process between November 2020 and September 2024, although it is not clear whether this end date will change due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic which caused a suspension of the pilot.

Transitional protection – managed migration

People who are moved over from legacy benefits to UC by DWP under the formal managed migration (‘Move to UC’) exercise should be entitled to receive transitional protection where they have no change of circumstances and their new UC award, at the point they are moved, is lower than their former legacy benefits.

Transitional SDP element

From 27 January 2021, people who receive a severe disability premium (SDP) with a social security benefit (or have been receiving a SDP and continue to meet the criteria for SDP but the benefit has ceased in the previous month) are no longer prevented from making a new claim for UC and, consequently, can no longer make a brand new claim for legacy benefits.

The transitional SDP element is to be included in the calculation of the UC award for those SDP recipients who make a new claim for UC from 27 January. However, the transitional SDP element is liable to erosion over time in the same way as other transitional protection elements.

The transitional SDP element is not payable in cases where a transitional element is already being paid for claims made prior to 27 January 2021 and is not payable where the SDP recipient is joining the household and making a new joint UC claim with an existing UC claimant.

Further details about the new element are set out in the DWP’s decision makers guidance ADM 1/21

Last reviewed/updated 24 May 2021