Claiming tax credits? Don’t miss out on your benefits

  • 30th January 2024

  • Customers

If you are currently receiving tax credits, you will be asked to apply for Universal Credit in the next few months. This is because tax credits are ending.

You will receive a letter, called a migration letter, from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) telling you when you need to apply. It’s really important that you keep an eye out for this letter as if you want to keep receiving financial support, you will need to claim Universal Credit.

DO NOT do anything until you receive an official letter (Migration Notice) from the DWP telling you that you must make the claim for Universal Credit within the next 3 months.

What to do when you receive your letter

  • Renew your tax credits, if you need to, and check all your tax credits information is correct. This is to help make sure the amount of Universal Credit you receive is correct.
  • Get advice so that you can find out the best time for you to make your claim for Universal Credit. If you fail to claim Universal Credit within three months of receiving your Migration Notice you may lose benefits you are entitled to, but claiming too early could mean that you are worse off financially. The best time to make a claim may be the day after you have received your tax credits. This is because there is a five week wait until your first UC payment. If your deadline to apply is after 1 April it is best to wait for benefit rate increases and rent increases to be applied to  get the most Universal Credit available to you. If you are working and paid monthly, then it is usually best to not make your UC claim around the date your wages are paid, as this can sometimes result in two monthly wages being used when the DWP assess one monthly UC award.
  • Get prepared Make a successful claim by getting everything you need ready. You will need an email address, bank account, and photo ID. You will also need details about you and your children/other people who live with you; your earnings, income and savings; and details of your rent and landlord.
  • Apply It is important that you apply for Universal Credit by the deadline stated in the letter to avoid losing out on any financial support.


How to claim Universal Credit

You can apply for Universal Credit online.

You need to create an account to make a claim. You must complete your claim within 28 days of creating your account or you’ll have to start again.

If you cannot claim online, you can claim by phone through the Universal Credit Migration Notice helpline. The contact number is 0800 169 0328.

For advice and support

For independent help, call Help to Claim on 0800 144 8444 or go to their website You can also get advice from AdviceLocal

Alternatively, contact our friendly team of money advisers.

Find out more


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What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a modern benefits system for people in work, looking for work or unable to work. It brings together six older benefits and helps make sure you’re getting the financial support you are entitled to in one place.
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I’ve not had a letter about the move to Universal Credit, should I just make a claim?
You do not have to do anything until you personally receive your migration letter from the DWP informing you that you need to claim. If you claim UC before you receive this, you will not be entitled to any transitional protection – this is additional top up money you could receive if you will be worse off on Universal Credit.
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I’ve received my migration letter but I’m going to struggle to make a claim before the date in the letter – what should I do?
Contact the DWP Migration Notice Helpline on 0800 169 0328, explain why you are going to struggle and request an extension. You can also speak with one of our Money Advisors on 0300 555 6666 for more advice.
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What if I don’t want to claim Universal Credit?
Tax credits are ending so you will not be able to continue receiving support in this way. Once the DWP send you a letter – called a Migration Notice – your tax credits will end whether you make a claim for Universal Credit or not.
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What will I get on Universal Credit?
On Universal Credit, most people will be entitled to at least the same amount they received from their existing benefits, or more. You can use an independent benefits calculator to estimate how much you could get on Universal Credit. If the amount you are entitled to on your existing benefits is more than you will get on Universal Credit, where eligible you will receive an additional amount to your Universal Credit. This is called transitional protection. You can get this top up if you have received a Migration Notice letter from DWP and claim by the deadline date on your letter.  
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When will the final payments for existing benefits be?
The date of your final payments from your existing benefits depends on whichever of the two factors below comes first.
  • The deadline date on your letter
  • When you make a claim to Universal Credit
If you claim tax credits, your entitlement will end as soon as you make a claim to Universal Credit. If you do not make a claim by the deadline, your tax credit entitlement will end on the day before the deadline.
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