We use cookies to monitor site usage, improve your experience and tailor adverts. This includes cookies from trusted third parties. Please read our Cookies policy.

Transitional protection and Universal Credit

There are 2 types of transitional payment when you move to Universal Credit. You might be eligible for 1 of these, depending on your situation:

  • If you have a change in circumstances while you are receiving Severe Disability Premium, you may be eligible for the transitional element of Severe Disability Premium.
  • If the DWP moves you to Universal Credit in a ‘managed migration’, you may be eligible for transitional protection.

These 2 benefits are different. The transitional element of Severe Disability Premium is less than transitional protection.

Most people are worse off receiving Universal Credit. But these payments can help in the short term.

Calculate your benefits (Turn2us)

Warning You might not be eligible

You are not eligible if you have a change in circumstances and are not receiving Severe Disability Premium.

For example, you would not be eligible if all the following apply. You:

  • move house to a new local authority
  • have to start a new claim for Universal Credit, because you were receiving Housing Benefit
  • are not receiving Severe Disability Premium

Starting a new Universal Credit claim

If you must start claiming Universal Credit, do this as soon as you can. If you do this, you will usually not need to have another Work Capability Assessment.

Transitional payments reduce as your Universal Credit increases

If your Universal Credit rate increases, you will receive less in transitional payments. The total you receive will stay the same until you stop receiving transitional payments.

For example:

You start with receiving a total of £1,000 a month from:

  • £900 Universal Credit
  • £100 transitional element

Then, the Universal Credit rate goes up to £950. You would still receive a total of £1,000 from:

  • £950 Universal Credit
  • £50 transitional element

If the Universal Credit rate increases by another £50, you would still receive £1,000. The transitional element would then be £0.

If your Universal Credit rate goes up again to £1,050, you would receive all of it. This is because you would not be receiving any transitional payments.

Get advice to help you plan

Contact the Scope helpline to find out:

  • if you might be eligible for transitional payments
  • how your income could change when you start receiving Universal Credit

Transitional element of Severe Disability Premium

To be eligible for the transitional element, all the following must apply. You:

  • still meet the eligibility criteria for Severe Disability Premium (SDP)
  • start claiming Universal Credit after a change in circumstances within 1 month of your last SDP payment

If you are not sure what benefits you are receiving, contact the DWP.

If you need to start claiming Universal Credit, do this as soon as you can. Your old claim will stop.

Universal Credit: How to claim (GOV.UK)

The transitional element is less than transitional protection. This means that your income will usually be less when you start receiving Universal Credit. The transitional element will usually not be enough to make up the difference.

Change in circumstances

When something changes in your life, you need to tell the Department of Work and Pensions. This could include:

  • moving house, particularly if you move to a new local authority if you are receiving Housing Benefit
  • your rent increases
  • starting a new job
  • stopping work
  • having a child
  • a partner starts or stops living with you
  • starting or stopping being a carer

What changes in circumstances might trigger a move to Universal Credit (EntitledTo)

If your partner starts living with you

You would need to make a joint claim for Universal Credit. You would not be eligible for the transitional element because joint claims are not eligible.

Warning Joint claims for Universal Credit are not eligible

You cannot start receiving the transitional element if you make a joint claim with someone who already receives Universal Credit.

For example, you would not be eligible if you moved in with your partner who receives Universal Credit.

If you are already receiving transitional payments, they will stop if:

  • a partner moves in with you
  • you move in with your partner
  • you move out, and stop living with a partner

Transitional protection and managed migration

You may be eligible to receive transitional protection if you move to Universal Credit in a ‘managed migration’. The DWP would write to you about this.

Your new income would not decrease when you start your new claim for Universal Credit. Transitional protection will make up the difference between your old claim and your new claim.

You are not eligible if you start claiming Universal Credit after a change in circumstances. For example, if you moved house to a new local authority. But you might be eligible for the transitional element of Severe Disability Premium instead.

Make your new Universal Credit claim as soon as you can

If you must move from an old ‘legacy’ benefit to Universal Credit, make your new claim as soon as you can.

Legacy benefit (Turn2us)

If there is no gap between your claims, you will usually not need another Work Capability Assessment. If you did not have to look for work or do ‘work-related activity’ before, this should stay the same.

Check you are receiving your new benefits

Check your online Universal Credit account to find out if you are receiving either:

  • transitional protection, or
  • the transitional element of Severe Disability Premium

You should start receiving them automatically. If you are not sure, you can:

Moving house

Moving house is often a change of circumstance that would cause you to move to Universal Credit.

This is even more likely if you move to a different local authority and are receiving Housing Benefit.

There are exceptions

You could make a new claim for Housing Benefit instead of Universal Credit if any of the following apply. You:

  • are over State Pension age
  • move to temporary accommodation arranged by your local authority
  • move to supported housing

Help with bills and food

Food

There are places where you can get free or cheap food. You do not need a referral to use some local food banks and pantries.

Free food, cheap food and food banks

Energy and water bills

Contact our Disability Energy Support service if you need advice on how to manage your energy and water bills.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 02/08/2022

Was this page helpful?

We're sorry to hear that.

Tell us how we can improve it

More on Universal Credit

Opens in a new windowOpens an external siteOpens an external site in a new window