Tax credit with housing benefit recipients next to ‘Move to UC’

Date published: 13 May 2024

The next phase of Universal Credit (UC) implementation - known as the ‘Move to UC’ - will begin this week for people receiving tax credits along with housing benefit.

News infographic

This stage, which begins today Monday 13 May, will be followed over the coming months by moves for those still in receipt of other benefits and tax credits being replaced by Universal Credit.

Universal Credit has been in place here since September 2017, replacing new claims to Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment & Support Allowance, Housing Benefit (rental) and tax credits.

The ‘Move to UC’ involves moving those who are still in receipt of these benefits and tax credits to Universal Credit.

From today (May 13), those in receipt of tax credits along with housing benefit will start receiving letters explaining the steps they need to take to continue claiming financial support. The ‘Migration Notice’ letters will include information on how to get help making a claim for those who need it.

Deputy Secretary of Work and Health at the Department for Communities (DfC), Paddy Rooney said, “We continue to take a measured and carefully managed approach to migrating legacy benefit recipients to Universal Credit.

“We have already successfully completed issuing Migration Notices to tax credit only recipients and we will continue to take every step possible to ensure that everyone receives the help and support they need during this next phase of Move to UC.”

Customers do not need to do anything unless they receive a Migration Notice letter from DfC. Moving to UC ahead of being issued a Migration Notice will mean customers will not be eligible to receive transitional protection.

After the issue of Migration Notices to people receiving tax credits with housing benefit, the following groups will be contacted in this order:

  • People claiming Income Support
  • People claiming Housing Benefit only and people claiming Child Tax Credits with Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)          
  • People claiming Jobseekers Allowance (income-based)

DfC will align with the Department for Work and Pensions and aim to complete migration of these benefits by March 2025.

Notes to editors: 

1. The Move to UC Delivery Team can be contacted on Freephone 0800 012 1331, Textphone 0800 012 1441 (for deaf users, those with hearing loss and users with speech and communication needs) and a UC Video Relay Service is available for sign language users. Information will also be available online at nidirect and through local Jobs & Benefits offices.

2. Based on February 2023 data there are approximately just over 28k households due to receive a migration notice during this next stage of Move to UC commencing on 13 May, including an estimated 3,720 households in receipt of tax credits with housing benefit.

3. Universal Credit is a working age payment for people over 18 but under State Pension age who are on a low income or out of work. It includes support for the cost of housing, children and childcare, and financial support for people with disabilities, carers and people too ill to work.

4. UC is being implemented here in line with the policy agreed by the Northern Ireland Executive.

5. In the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in 2022 it was announced that people in receipt of Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) only and Income Related ESA with Housing Benefit (currently around 53k households) would not move to UC until 2028. On 19 April 2024, the Prime Minister announced his intention to bring forward the migration of ESA and ESA/HB customers to Universal Credit. The Department is working to assess the impact of this announcement and will provide an update on plans for the migration of ESA and ESA/HB customers.

6. Media enquiries to Press Office via email: Press Office

7. Follow us on X @CommunitiesNI

8. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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