COVID-19 management information statistics

Management information surrounding key benefit areas impacted by COVID-19, namely Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Discretionary Support.

Universal Credit

The Northern Ireland Universal Credit Quarterly Report is the official source for Universal Credit statistics in Northern Ireland. These statistics are classified as experimental statistics and in order to ensure that they meet the highest standards of quality, trustworthiness and public value they are published at a 3 month lag from the time period to which they refer.

The statistics in the February 2020 publication (released 27 May 2020) do not cover the current COVID-19 emergency situation. However, as there has been significant interest in Universal Credit applications since the onset of COVID-19, the Department has released Management Information related to Universal Credit Claims, Payments and Advances. Detailed information was first released on 6 May with a further update on 5 June. A summary dashboard was also released on 5 June and this dashboard is updated weekly each Friday at 10am.

These do not replace the official statistics for the period which will be published on 26 August 2020.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

The Northern Ireland Benefits Statistics Summary is the official source for benefits statistics in Northern Ireland. These statistics are classified as National Statistics and in order to ensure that they meet the highest standards of quality, trustworthiness and public value they are published at a 3 month lag from the time period to which they refer.

The statistics in the February 2020 publication (released 27 May 2020) do not cover the current COVID-19 emergency situation. However, as there has been significant interest in benefit applications since the onset of COVID-19, the Department has released Management Information related to Jobseeker’s Allowance claims on 5 June. This will be updated each Friday at 10am.

This management information does not replace the official National Statistics for the period, which will be published on 26 August 2020.

Discretionary Support

The Department for Communities is committed to ensuring that the most vulnerable in society can access appropriate help and support in times of emergency or crisis. In support of this aim, the Finance Support Service was introduced in Northern Ireland in November 2016 to provide a fast, responsive and effective quality service that ensures claimants receive immediate short-term financial support in times of emergency or crisis.

On 24 March, DfC announced the introduction of a non-repayable Discretionary Support grant payment to assist with short term living expenses where a person, or any member of their immediate family, is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is advised to self-isolate in accordance with guidance published by the Regional Agency for Public Health and Social Well-being. Additionally, Discretionary Support has been extended to full-time students suffering financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19.

Figures on Discretionary Support performance and expenditure are released annually through the Annual Report (last published October 2019). However, as there has been significant interest in Discretionary Support awards since the onset of COVID-19 the Department has released management information related to Discretionary Support New Awards and Expenditure on 5 June. This will be updated each Friday at 10am.

DfC since COVID-19

The infographic provides a range of information on some of the work carried out by the Department since the onset of COVID-19 (16 March) until 31 May. This contains Management Information on key benefits such as Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Discretionary Support. It provides information on funding available and provided to a variety of strands within the Department. Additionally, the number of food parcels delivered to local councils for distribution to vulnerable people is included.

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