Managed migration to UC: minimum income floor and face-to-face interview

ruffles_3
ruffles_3 Posts: 32
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edited 23 December 2023 at 8:11PM in Benefits & tax credits
 I’m on working tax credits and have received my notice of migration to UC. I have two separate questions about this and would be grateful for any help with them.

My income from self employment is very variable and I quite often earn below the minimum income floor in a month. I understand that transitional protection would be applied to payments for the first 12 months so I shouldn’t lose financially. 

During that year, would I be made (I don’t think that’s quite the right word) to look for work that has a more regular monthly income?

Secondly, I understand that as part of the migration process, claimants are often asked to attend an in-person interview. I’m currently under medical investigation by an immunologist, and the tests he asked me to take show my immune system isn’t working properly. But I’m not going to see him again for a few months and I don’t yet have a diagnosis, just the blood test results.

Until I see him again and learn more, I really don’t want to expose myself to catching covid and am staying at home and shielding. Is there likely to be some flexibility in allowing a phone or video interview? I’d be happy to provide them with the blood test result, but I don’t know if that would be sufficient. 

If anyone can help, thank you.

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  • Yamor
    Yamor Posts: 312
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    The minimum income floor could only apply once you have been on UC for 12 months.

    You may separately be entitled to a transitional element if your theoretical UC entitlement at the level of income used by HMRC for your tax credits is lower than your tax credits entitlement.

    Each month on UC, your entitlement would be calculated using normal UC rules, but there would simply be an extra element each month if you are entitled to transitional element.

    The transitional element will continue to be included with no time limit, but will get eroded over time if and when other elements get added to your award, or existing elements are increased for any reason (e.g. inflation).

    After 12 months, the MIF may be applied to your award (if you fall in the group expected to look and be available for work). Any transitional element still on your claim would continue, but would not increase, so wouldn't make up any loss due to the MIF being applied.

    Regarding attending face-to-face appointments, you can explain your situation and ask for reasonable adjustments to be made (i.e. for appointments to be held by telephone).
  • Thanks for such a detailed and helpful reply. I appreciate it.
  • peteuk
    peteuk Posts: 1,216
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    You state that you are shielding - do you go out at any time?  Is your hospital appointments via telephone? The government guide is below.  It also notes that there is no requirement to shield, however if that is your personal choice then that is different. 

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk
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  • You should probably work hard during the 12 month TC period to try and equalise your business income month to month so that you don't have drought months - make sure you're above the MIF every month if you can. If you're business isn't conducive to this, might be worth considering forming a limited company and operating your business through that. You'll still be treated by UC as self employed and have to submit monthly accounts, but it may give more flexibility to smooth out your income. You'll need to try and find a good accountant that knows about UC's self employment rules, because most don't. My accountant had no clue about it and didn't believe or understand me when I explained it to him. And his wife was claiming tax credits herself, so they'll be in for a shock when they get migrated!

    Ultimately, I decided it wasn't worth the hassle of being self employed under UC so when I got migrated I gave it up and got a min wage job instead.

    Yamor said:
    Each month on UC, your entitlement would be calculated using normal UC rules, but there would simply be an extra element each month if you are entitled to transitional element.

    The transitional element will continue to be included with no time limit, but will get eroded over time if and when other elements get added to your award, or existing elements are increased for any reason (e.g. inflation).

    I could never get my head around how TP is calculated with a varying monthly income. Is it a fixed amount calculated at the start of your claim that then gets added on to your entitlement each month for 12 months? Or is the TP recalculated for each AP? So if you had a high income month and your UC reduced (possibly to zero) would there still be a TP entitlement paid or would that go first?

  • Yamor
    Yamor Posts: 312
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    edited 24 December 2023 at 12:08AM
    Yamor said:
    Each month on UC, your entitlement would be calculated using normal UC rules, but there would simply be an extra element each month if you are entitled to transitional element.

    The transitional element will continue to be included with no time limit, but will get eroded over time if and when other elements get added to your award, or existing elements are increased for any reason (e.g. inflation).

    I could never get my head around how TP is calculated with a varying monthly income. Is it a fixed amount calculated at the start of your claim that then gets added on to your entitlement each month for 12 months? Or is the TP recalculated for each AP? So if you had a high income month and your UC reduced (possibly to zero) would there still be a TP entitlement paid or would that go first?

    The transitional element is calculated at the start based on a notional UC entitlement using the income figure used by tax credits (divided by 12 and after notional deductions for tax/NI).

    The transitional element will not then change when actual earnings are actually known in any month.

    The transitional element is then just a normal element added to the UC pot, which gets reduced in the normal way based on earnings and unearned income.
  • peteuk said:
    You state that you are shielding - do you go out at any time?  Is your hospital appointments via telephone? The government guide is below.  It also notes that there is no requirement to shield, however if that is your personal choice then that is different. 

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk
    The government guide is useless, it doesn't protect anyone.  If any official guidance were to recommend shielding, that would be an admittance that in fact the danger isn't over, and that goes against the message they want the country to believe.

    I know of several people who have been continuously shielding since March 2020 because it's just not safe for them to be near anyone that's not taking full precautions.  So they are excluded from a lot of life, and when they *have* to go out - e.g. for essential appointments - they are without exaggeration putting their lives in the hands of the general public who think covid is over and live as if it doesn't exist and doesn't still disable and kill people.  Because no set of precautions is 100% infallible. 

    For people with healthy immune systems, masking (FPP2 or higher) around others and avoiding anyone with symptoms or revent exposure is mostly enough to avoid the kind of viral load that would make them ill.  But for immunocompromised people, many more precautions are needed and most of those are things beyond their control, things they need others to do.

    They don't want to have to still shield but if nobody else is going to help keep them safe, there is no other option.
  • peteuk said:
    You state that you are shielding - do you go out at any time?  Is your hospital appointments via telephone? The government guide is below.  It also notes that there is no requirement to shield, however if that is your personal choice then that is different. 

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

    Thanks very much for the link. I hadn't read this updated version. this. I'm quite gobsmacked by the opening statement: "The success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme has meant that the requirement for shielding and identifying people as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) is no longer necessary."

    As a blanket statement, that's pretty dangerous. I won't know until I have another appointment with the consultant and possibly further tests if I am one of the immuncompromised for whom vaccines don't work. I don't go out at all. My medical appointments are by phone or video, and my blood tests are done at home via finger !!!!!! so no need for a phlebotomist to visit. My GP is fully on board with this, although it was my decision to shield rather than her suggestion.

    When you say it's different if it's my personal choice, is that with regard to how it might be viewed by the UC people who would call me for an interview? 

    Thanks for taking the time to answer and the effort to dig out that link.



  • You should probably work hard during the 12 month TC period to try and equalise your business income month to month so that you don't have drought months - make sure you're above the MIF every month if you can. If you're business isn't conducive to this, might be worth considering forming a limited company and operating your business through that. You'll still be treated by UC as self employed and have to submit monthly accounts, but it may give more flexibility to smooth out your income. You'll need to try and find a good accountant that knows about UC's self employment rules, because most don't. My accountant had no clue about it and didn't believe or understand me when I explained it to him. And his wife was claiming tax credits herself, so they'll be in for a shock when they get migrated!

    Ultimately, I decided it wasn't worth the hassle of being self employed under UC so when I got migrated I gave it up and got a min wage job instead.


    Your advice to try and stabilise my income is excellent, but my problem is the nature of my business that dictates income patterns. I'm an author, and most of my publishers pay royalties every three months, though one is monthly and I also do some self-publishing with monthly royalties coming in. I'm very limited in how much smoothing I can do. Moving entirely to self-publishing would help this, but would probably reduce my overall income. 

    I can quite see why you made the decision you did. It's something I may have to consider. I'm also shocked that your accountant 
    didn't understand the rules!

    Thanks for your help. Very much appreciated.

  • peteuk said:
    You state that you are shielding - do you go out at any time?  Is your hospital appointments via telephone? The government guide is below.  It also notes that there is no requirement to shield, however if that is your personal choice then that is different. 

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

    They don't want to have to still shield but if nobody else is going to help keep them safe, there is no other option.
    Thanks for laying this out so clearly. I think those who are still shielding are invisible to most, sadly.
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