Universal credit: Managed migration Notices and letters

As claimants are selected for the formal managed migration exercise, there are a number of letters and notices they should receive.

For those moving from tax credits, some of the letters will be from HMRC and some from DWP. Where people are claiming more than one of the legacy benefits, they may receive different letters in respect of their housing benefit and other benefits. Here we focus on the main letters and notices associated with a move from tax credits.

At each stage, DWP and or HMRC may communicate with claimants to check progress, offer support, remind claimants to take action and/or request additional information in connection with the part of the process they are dealing with.

Migration notice

This is a formal notice issued by DWP under the migration legislation. The legislation gives the Secretary of State a discretion to issue a migration notice at any time to a person entitled to an award of an existing (legacy) benefit. The notice informs a claimant that all awards of any existing legacy benefits to which they are entitled are to terminate and that they need to make a claim for universal credit by the deadline day specified in the notice.

Under the legislation, migration notices must be issued to both members of a couple (or all members of a polygamous marriage).

In the early stages of the exercise, the migration notice is under development and there are likely to be several iterations but all should include certain basic details.

The deadline date in the notice must not be within the period of three months starting with the day on which the notice is issued. The legislation also contains a provision to allow for extension of the deadline – however this is at the DWP’s discretion. The deadline can be changed to a later date either on the DWP’s own initiative or if the claimant (notified person) requests a change before the deadline day where there is ‘a good reason to do so’. Once a decision has been made to change the deadline line, the DWP must inform the notified person(s) of the new deadline day.

Migration notices can also be cancelled by the DWP where:

It has been issued in error;
In any circumstances where DWP considers it necessary to do so in the interests of the person, or any class of person, or to safeguard the efficient administration of universal credit.

This gives DWP a great deal of flexibility, especially in the early stages of the migration.

Existing legacy benefits will terminate if no claim for universal credit is made by the deadline (or extended deadline if agreed). In the case of tax credits, they will terminate the day before the deadline day. Other legacy benefits have a run-on period which means housing benefit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or income-related employment and support allowance terminate on the last day of the period of two weeks beginning with the deadline day. An award of housing benefit which someone is entitled to in respect of specified or temporary accommodation does not terminate under this legislation.

If a claimant fails to make a UC claim by their deadline date, but subsequently makes a UC claim on or before what would be the last day of their first assessment period in relation to an award commencing on the deadline day, the UC award will commence from the deadline day.

For people who have reached their state pension qualifying age (who are not able to claim universal credit), we expect a similar migration exercise to pension credit but no details have been released about this.

Universal credit indicative amount

DWP may contact the claimant to ask for additional information to help them determine the universal credit indicative amount. This may not be necessary in all cases and is an option rather than a legal requirement.

Tax credits  In-year finalisation review notice

Once the person submits their universal credit claim, that sends a trigger to HMRC stop tax credits. At this point, HMRC will commence in-year finalisation and send an initial in-year finalisation notice.

Tax credits In-year finalisation award notice

Once the person has completed their in-year finalisation review, HMRC will process the information and issue an in-year final award notice.

Tax credits in-year finalisation overpayment notice

If the in-year finalised decision results in an overpayment of tax credits, HMRC will send an overpayment notice. Recovery of the overpayment is likely to be managed by deductions from the new universal credit award but direct recovery may well remain an option, if preferred by the claimant.

Tax credit claimants may receive several overpayment notices and notices of debts transferred to universal credit.

Universal credit award

We understand that in most cases, universal credit entitlement decisions are displayed via the universal credit on-line account.

Tax credits closure notice

Rules introduced with effect from 8 June 2024 introduce tax credits closure notices.

They will be issued to existing tax credit claimants who have reached their state pension credit age and who are not migrating to universal credit but will be expected to claim ongoing support though pension credit. See our Pensioners section for more information.

Tax credits letter included with renewal pack in 2024

HMRC have included a letter in all renewal packs that they sent out for the 2024 tax credit renewals exercise which advises claimants that the tax credits system is ending from 5 April 2025. DWP have said the letter advises claimants that they will be contacted before that end date about claiming universal credit or pension credit instead.

Last reviewed/updated 21 June 2024