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More households set to ‘Move to UC’ earlier than expected, but no date confirmed for NI customers

In a speech on welfare reform last week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that he would be bringing forward the movement of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and ESA with Housing Benefit customers to Universal Credit much sooner than expected.

In its 2022 Autumn Statement, the Government delayed the transition to Universal Credit for ESA and ESA with Housing Benefit claimants until 2028. Following the Prime Minister’s speech last week, this has now been brought forward and the migration of this group will no longer be deferred.

As yet, there is no confirmed date for when the ESA and ESA with Housing Benefit transition will begin in Northern Ireland, but we will update on this when an announcement is made by the Department for Communities.

There is a higher likelihood that ESA claimants will require additional support to transition to Universal Credit. As a result, Law Centre NI has asked the Department for Communities to provide more information about the plans to provide enhanced support for the ESA claimant group in advance of roll out.

The existing timetable for Managed Migration in Northern Ireland is:

April 2024

People claiming Tax Credits with Housing Benefit

May 2024

People claiming Income Support

July 2024

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

September 2024

People claiming Jobseekers Allowance (income-based)

We would remind people that they should seek independent advice and await a Migration Notice before claiming Universal Credit if they want to benefit from Transitional Protection (an additional amount to help with the transition).

You can also access our FAQs on Universal Credit Managed Migration for further information and guidance or contact our social security team on 028 9024 4401.