What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a new payment that when introduced, will support you if you are on a low income or out of work. It will give you the help you need to prepare for work, start work or earn more money.
Universal Credit will be for working-age people aged 18 to 64 years. It will include support for the cost of housing, and when a claimant is in employment, it will also assist with childcare costs as well as financial support for disabled people, carers and people who are too ill to work.
What benefits are being replaced by Universal Credit?
The benefits that will be replaced are:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
- Housing Benefit (Rental)
A new Department of Finance Rate Rebate Scheme will provide rates support for tenants or home owners who are entitled to Universal Credit.
The following benefits will not be replaced by Universal Credit and will continue:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (Contribution- based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (Contribution- based)
- Child Benefit
- Pension Credit
- Carer’s Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
Disability Living Allowance is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment.
How will Universal Credit be introduced?
Universal Credit will be introduced for new claims, on a phased geographical basis from 25th September 2017 until September 2018. As it reaches the respective geographical areas, people living in those areas will be able to make a new claim for Universal Credit instead of having to submit multiple claims for the benefits that it is replacing.The planned approach is detailed below.
|11/12/2017||Magherafelt and Coleraine|
|15/01/2018||Strabane and Lisnagelvin|
|05/02/2018||Foyle and Armagh|
|19/02/2018||Omagh and Enniskillen|
|05/03/2018||Dungannon and Portadown|
|16/04/2018||Banbridge and Lurgan|
|30/04/2018||Kilkeel, Downpatrick and Newry|
|14/05/2018||Bangor, Newtownards and Holywood Road|
|28/05/2018||Knockbreda, Newtownabbey and Shankill|
|11/06/2018||Corporation Street, Falls and Andersonstown|
|25/06/2018||Shaftesbury Square, Lisburn and Larne|
|02/07/2018||Carrickfergus, Antrim and Ballymena|
|Jul – Sep 18||Cookstown, Ballynahinch and Newcastle|
If you receive any of the six benefits being replaced by Universal Credit you will be transferred to Universal Credit between July 2019 and March 2022. If you receive one of the existing benefits that will be replaced and you live in a Universal Credit area but your circumstances change you will may to Universal Credit from September 2017.
Help and Support
The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed support will be available for people on a low income who are claiming Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit. These supplementary payments will be available to help with the additional expenses of employment.
The detail of this support is yet to be finalised and agreed by the Northern Ireland Assembly. It is expected that payments will be available from autumn 2017.