What is Universal Credit (UC) transitional protection?
Transitional Protection is an extra ‘transitional’ amount which tops up your Universal Credit award so that you are not worse off when you move onto Universal Credit.
Transitional Protection is only for some people and it is not available to anybody yet.
People who are claiming Universal Credit at the moment are people who have had a change which meant they had to make a new benefit claim. These people are called ‘natural migrants’. Transitional Protection is not available to them.
Transitional Protection will only be available to people who are moved over to Universal Credit even though nothing has happened which makes them start a new benefit claim. These people are called ‘managed migrants’. There will not be any managed migrants until the Universal Credit full digital service is available in all areas. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is planning to start ‘managed migration’ in July 2019.
How much Universal Credit transitional protection you will get will depend on what your income is from the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit.
Your transitional protection amount will top your Universal Credit up so that it matches your previous benefit income to ensure you are not worse off due to the move to Universal Credit.
How long will I get Universal Credit (UC) transitional protection for?
If you can get it, you may receive Universal Credit transitional protection until your Universal Credit award increases to reach the same amount you were receiving from the benefits it replaced, or until your Universal Credit entitlement decreases to nothing, or until you have a significant change of circumstance.
Your Universal Credit entitlement increases
If you have an increase in your Universal Credit entitlement, perhaps due to a fall in income, the birth of a child, or because of an annual increase in the rates for Universal Credit, the increase in your Universal Credit entitlement will be offset by a reduction in your transitional protection amount. This will continue until your transitional protection amount is reduced to nothing.
Jane and Dave currently receive £1100 per month from the benefits to be replaced by Universal Credit but their Universal Credit entitlement is only £1000 per month.
They are part of the managed migration onto Universal Credit so they receive a transitional protection amount of £100 per month to top up their Universal Credit so they are not worse off.
The following April the Universal Credit rates are increased so their Universal Credit entitlement goes up to £1020 per month.
They only need a transitional protection amount of £80 now to top them up to their previous benefit income of £1100 per month.
Although their Universal Credit entitlement has gone up £20, their transitional protection amount is reduced by £20 so they still receive £1100 per month.
They won’t see a rise in their income from Universal Credit until their Universal Credit entitlement becomes more than £1100 per month and their transitional protection amount reduces to nothing.
Your Universal Credit entitlement decreases
If you have a decrease in your Universal Credit entitlement, for example because of an increase in your earnings, your transitional protection amount will not be reduced straight away. This is to make sure that work incentives are protected.
Your transitional amount won’t be reduced until your Universal Credit entitlement falls to £0. Even then you won’t lose all your transitional protection amount at once, it will be removed at the set taper rate, currently 65%. This means you will lose 65p of your transitional protection amount for every £1 you earn.
Significant change of circumstance
If you have a significant change of circumstance which affects your Universal Credit claim you will lose your transitional protection amount immediately.
These significant changes are:
- a partner leaves/joins your household
- your earnings drop beneath the level expected of you in your claimant commitment (for three months in a row)
- your Universal Credit award ends
- you or your partner stop work