Universal Credit rolls out across north east

Job Centre Plus
Job Centre Plus

From today (June 27) more people across North East Scotland will benefit from a tailored welfare system, receiving additional support to move into and progress within work.

This comes as the Universal Credit service expands to people in and out of work, those on low incomes, families, and those with disabilities.

Universal Credit is simplifying the system and revolutionising welfare by making work pay. It also helps those who are in work to increase their hours and earnings.

Universal Credit replaces six benefits with one monthly payment and is already being claimed by single jobseekers. And from today, people who would previously have made a claim to Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income support, Working and Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit will instead claim Universal Credit.

A £1.5bn package of improvements making it easier for people moving onto Universal Credit was announced in the Budget. People applying to Universal Credit can now receive a 100% advance on their first payment and the 7-day waiting period for new claimants was removed earlier this year. Among other improvements, from April 2018 the Government also continues to pay Housing Benefit claimants’ rent for two weeks - which is non-recoverable - when moving onto Universal Credit.

Minister for Employment Alok Sharma said: “Universal Credit is central to our commitment to help families improve their lives by moving into work. We know it’s working – with Universal Credit people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system.

“And now we are rolling it out to a wider range of people in a safe and controlled way. From today, more people, including families and disabled people, can claim Universal Credit and access the extra help it provides.”

Single jobseekers are already receiving support from their dedicated work coach to find employment or increase their hours and earnings. Now, all types of claimants will be able to benefit from the improved, personalised, one-to-one support that Universal Credit offers.

Carol Sadler, from Jobcentre Plus said: “Universal Credit offers tailored support, which includes more personalised help from a work coach. The new system is also more flexible, which means people can take on short-term work to develop their skills and build up their experience.

“Our staff are trained to support people throughout the claim process. We’d encourage anyone who needs extra help or information to come and talk to their work coach.”

Those on Universal Credit will now have 24-hour access to an online account that they can use to manage their claim, including reporting changes of circumstances, checking the details of their claim and date of their next Universal Credit payment.

With the application process now completely online, Universal Credit streamlines the system, making benefits simpler to navigate and easier to understand.