Update on Universal Credit rollout schedule

Date published: 02 February 2018

The Department for Communities has reviewed and updated the rollout schedule for Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.

As a result, the rollout phase which was due to complete in September 2018 will now be extended to December 2018.

These changes have been made following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement in the 2017 Autumn Budget of a package of measures aimed at ensuring Universal Credit claimants receive either more or earlier access to payments.

In order to deliver this additional work, the Department for Work and Pensions have extended the national roll out of new claims to Universal Credit to December 2018. 

The additional support for claimants and the extension to the national roll out of new claims are welcomed in Northern Ireland and accordingly the Department for Communities has also decided to extend its roll out to complete in December 2018.

To date, Universal Credit is operational in the Limavady, Ballymoney, Magherafelt, Coleraine, Strabane and Lisnagelvin areas.  It will commence in Foyle and Armagh from 7 February, Omagh and Enniskillen from 21 February, and Dungannon and Portadown from 7 March, as originally planned. 

The extended implementation timetable is outlined below:

16/05/2018    Newry, Downpatrick
30/05/2018    Lurgan, Newcastle, Kilkeel
13/06/2018    Falls, Shankill
27/06/2018    Andersonstown, Banbridge
05/09/2018    Holywood Road, Ballynahinch
19/09/2018    Newtownabbey, Newtownards
03/10/2018    Shaftesbury Sq, Carrickfergus
17/10/2018    Knockbreda, Bangor
31/10/2018    Lisburn, Larne
14/11/2018    North Belfast, Cookstown
05/12/2018    Ballymena, Antrim

The phased approach to implementation is helping to ensure that the Universal Credit service is working as anticipated and that claimants are coping with the move to a digital service. To date, approximately 1,500 claims have been received, of which 500 have now reached the end of their assessment period and are in payment.  In addition, 700 advance payments have also been made to support claimants.

Further information on Universal Credit and the rollout schedule is available on nidirect.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Universal Credit replaces Jobseeker's Allowance (income based), Employment Support Allowance (income-related), Income Support, Housing Benefit (rental), Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits for people aged over 18 and under State Pension age. 
  2. New claimants will be the first to claim Universal Credit in each rollout area. 
  3. Existing claimants will transfer to Universal Credit between July 2019 and March 2022.  Some claimants will naturally move to Universal Credit earlier, where their circumstances have changed.
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  5. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office on 028 9082 3503 or email press.office@communities-ni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.

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