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Updated on 6 April 2023

Moving to universal credit

Universal credit is gradually replacing several means tested benefit including working tax credit and child tax credit. HMRC say brand new tax credit claims are no longer possible and most people already claiming tax credits will be expected claim universal credit or pension credit instead. The move to universal credit for tax credit claimants is expected to be completed by the end of the 2024/25 tax year.

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Tax credits are ending and gradually being replaced by universal credit (or pension credit depending on your age). Most people who are already claiming tax credits will be expected to claim universal credit or pension credit (depending on their age) instead of tax credits but there are a number of ways that the move to universal credit can work and the way you move to universal credit can affect how much money you get.

If you are already claiming tax credits, you can continue with your tax credit award until you either:

  • Make a claim for universal credit because you choose to (see the information below if you are thinking of doing this)
  • Have to claim universal credit because you have a change in circumstances that brings your current tax credit claim to an end and you need to make a new claim for support
  • Need to make a new claim for one of the legacy benefits being replaced by universal credit, for example help with housing costs
  • Are issued with a migration notice by DWP inviting you to claim universal credit and telling you that your tax credit award will end, under the formal managed migration exercise

We explain more about how existing tax credit claimants are affected by the introduction of universal credit and what happens if you have reached state pension age on our existing tax credit claimants page.

Some people are better off claiming universal credit instead of tax credits and so it makes sense, if they have the option, to claim universal credit instead of tax credits simply by choice. There is no need to wait to be told to make a universal credit claim.

  However, it is important to check very carefully that you will definitely be better off before you choose to make a universal credit claim if you currently get tax credits. Once you (either person in a joint claim) make your claim for universal credit, your tax credits will end and you cannot go back to tax credits.

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