Universal Credit is a new payment for working age people who are on a low income or out of work.
Universal credit will replace the following benefits:
Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
Income-related employment and support allowance
Child tax credits
Working tax credits
People who are currently claiming these benefits will continue to do so until they are moved over to Universal Credit in a process called managed migration scheduled to complete in Northern Ireland by 2023.
However, if you make a new claim for benefits or if your circumstances change significantly, you’ll end up getting universal credit now.
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
If you know that you're going to be experiencing a change in your circumstances soon and are worried that this change will trigger a move to Universal Credit, talk to an experienced welfare adviser.
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)
These services are free for anyone who needs help or advice relating to any of the changes to the welfare system.
The most up to date information about Universal Credit can be found on the NI Direct website.