Universal Credit is a new payment for working age people who are on a low income or out of work.
People living in Limavady will be the first to claim this new benefit by the end of September 2017, but it will be extended to other areas over the following year. By September 2018, any working-age person making a new claim for social security assistance will claim universal credit, rather than many of the current benefits.
People who are already claiming other benefits will be moved over to universal credit eventually. The government hopes that this will happen by 2020.
Universal credit will replace the following benefits:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Housing benefit
- Child tax credits
- Working tax credits
People who are currently claiming these benefits will continue to do so. But, if you make a new claim for benefits in a universal credit area after September 2017, or if your circumstances change significantly, you’ll end up getting universal credit.
Roll Out Dates
Getting Ready for Universal Credit - Digital Skills
Most people will need to set up and claim Universal Credit online. One way you can prepare for the changes is by making sure you have everything in place, including the digital skills you will need, to manage your claim online.
Are you confident with the following skills?
- Use your own email address to send and receive messages
- Click on a link within your email to activate an account
- Search the internet for a specific website
- Switch between browser tabs
- Fill in an online form with personal information using drop down menus and search functions
- Create and securely save a username and password
- Type information into a text box
- Be able to copy letters and numbers into a text box to "digitally verify" you are not a robot
- Print a document
- Attach a document to an email
- Access your bank or credit union information online
If you need help with your digital skills, don't wait! Find a free course near you now. Your local library is a good place to start or ask in your community centre if there are any courses available.
Supporting Communities works with groups around NI to deliver basic digital skills training and will be providing assistance at a series of Road Shows at job and benefit centres throughout the roll out period.
Advice & Support
An independent Welfare Changes Advice Service has been launched for anyone needing help or advice about any of the changes to the welfare system. The service is operated by the Welfare Reform Advice Services Consortium made up of Citizens Advice, Advice NI and the Law Centre NI.
- Call freephone on 0808 802 0020 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
- Visit your local Citizens Advice office or Advice NI independent advice centre
These services are free for anyone who needs help or advice relating to any of the changes to the welfare system.
Read more about Universal Credit on the NI Direct website.