Tax credits being replaced by Universal Credit
Tax credits are ending and will be replaced by Universal Credit. For people living in Northern Ireland from 16 October 2023, the Department for Communities will start to contact people currently receiving tax credits, asking them to make a claim to Universal Credit.
This information is for Northern Ireland only. If you live in England, Scotland or Wales visit: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk
When your tax credits will end
When your tax credits are due to end, the Department for Communities will send you a Migration Notice letter and you will be asked to make a new claim online for Universal Credit.
Your tax credits will end even if you decide not to claim Universal Credit. You will have three months to claim Universal Credit or your tax credits will end.
If you receive a tax credits renewal letter from HM Revenue & Customs as well as a Migration Notice letter, you will still need to make a claim to Universal Credit and also complete your tax credits renewal as normal.
You do not need to do anything unless your circumstances change or you receive a Migration Notice letter from the Department for Communities.
Your Universal Credit payments
When you move from tax credits to Universal Credit, if the amount you are entitled to on tax credits is more than you receive on Universal Credit, a top up is available - this is called 'Transitional Protection'.
If your circumstances change before you make your claim, this may affect the amount you get.
You can only get Transitional Protection if you have received a Migration Notice letter from the Department for Communities and you claim Universal Credit within the three month deadline date on your letter.
You should claim as soon as possible to make sure the amount you are currently entitled to can be protected.
Any Transitional Protection you receive as part of your Universal Credit claim may stop if your circumstances change.
In addition those migrating from tax credits:
- who are gainfully self-employed will be eligible for a 12-month start-up grace period before the Minimum Income Floor applies
- who have more than £16,000 of capital or savings are eligible for Universal Credit for a maximum 12 assessment periods
Changes that could affect your tax credits
You should report any change in your circumstances that could affect your tax credits claim as soon as possible by calling the tax credits helpline on 0345 300 3900 or writing to the tax credits office.
How Universal Credit affects your tax credits
When you claim Universal Credit and your identity has been confirmed, your claim for tax credits will end and you will not be able to claim tax credits again.
Moving to Universal Credit before receiving a Migration Notice letter
You will not be able to go back to tax credits or any of the benefits that Universal Credit replaces once you apply for Universal Credit, so it’s important to check carefully before making a claim.
Before making a claim to Universal Credit you should seek independent advice. The AdviceNI website and helpline provides free, confidential, independent advice.
You can also use a benefits calculator to check how much you may get. This calculator does not include:
- any transitional protection that you may receive
- any deductions for a debt
To find out if you are entitled to other benefits or financial support, you can contact the Make the Call Service.