03/01/2018

Universal Credit To Be Rolled Out In Strabane And L'Derry

Universal Credit is to be rolled out in Strabane and Londonderry/Derry, the Department for Communities has announced.

Universal Credit replaces six existing benefits with one. It is for people aged 18 to State Pension age and aims to remove many of the barriers to work which exist in the current welfare system.

It is being introduced gradually across Northern Ireland in the period from September 2017 to September 2018, with Strabane and Lisnagelvin the latest areas in the rollout timetable.

New claimants will be the first to claim Universal Credit. People in these areas already claiming the existing benefits will not be affected until 2019, unless their circumstances changes.

The new payment will support claimants in being able to start and progress in work and earn more without losing their benefits, while ensuring those who cannot work continue to receive the financial support they need. It includes support for the cost of housing, children and childcare, as well as particular help for parents, who will be able to claim back up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month.
News Image
Denis McMahon, Deputy Secretary of Work and Inclusion Group, DfC, explained: "The rollout of Universal Credit is another stage of the Department's work to implement the NI Executive's decisions on welfare changes. It is a significant change to the way the benefit system works in Northern Ireland, and we are using a phased rollout to give the best possible support to claimants as they get used to the new system."

Explaining how the new system will work, Dr McMahon continued: "Instead of individuals having to fill in multiple forms and manage several claims, they can claim the single benefit of Universal Credit online. This simplifies the process, with digital support available for those who need it. People can claim using a PC, tablet or mobile phone. The local Strabane Jobs & Benefits Office will have a Digital Zone with PCs and free Wifi which claimants can use to access their online account, with staff available to provide help and support." 

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. 

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.

As Universal Credit is rolled out claimants can discuss their personal circumstances by calling into their local Jobs & Benefits Office.

(MH/LM)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

18 July 2018
Funding Secured For Drugs Support Worker In North Belfast
A drugs support worker is to be based in north Belfast to help youths who may be struggling with addiction in the area. The worker will be based at YeHa in St. Gemma's every Thursday.
02 May 2018
Universal Credit To Be Introduced In Downpatrick And Newry
Universal Credit is to be introduced in the Downpatrick and Newry areas from Wednesday, 16 May. Universal Credit replaces six existing benefits with one and is for people of working age, from 18 until state pension age. It is initially for new claimants in the local area.
09 December 2011
Credit Unions Get Full Deposit Protection
Credit union customers in NI are to enjoy the same protection as those at ordinary banks. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and HM Treasury (HMT) have today jointly announced that Northern Ireland's credit union customers will have their deposits protected to the value of £85,000.
01 November 2005
Minister urges uptake of Age-Related Payments
Social Development Minister David Hanson has called on people over 65 to take advantage of Age-Related Payments. The Government is making two payments this year to help pensioners with their rates bills or other living expenses.
19 November 2004
TSS advise on overseas credit card spending
As a result of a recent High Court ruling that overseas purchases are not covered by the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the Trading Standards Service (TSS) is advising consumers on the protection they can currently expect when using a credit card to purchase goods or services.
22 October 2012
Universal Credit Updates Announced
Nelson McCausland has updated the Assembly on the new Universal Credit system. Following discussions with Lord Freud, Conservative Minister for Welfare Reform, Social Development Minister McCausland has confirmed changes will be made to the new system.
25 September 2012
Welfare Bill 'Could Increase Homelessness'
Proposed welfare reforms could lead to many people currently on housing benefits becoming homeless, an MLA has warned. If the new legislation is pushed through, it would lead to housing payments no longer being made directly to landlords; a move which Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan fears could exacerbate problems for already vulnerable people.
28 June 2018
UK Govt 'Continuing To Work Intensively' With NI Parties
The UK Government is continuing to "work intensively with all the parties in Northern Ireland to bring about the restoration of devolved government".
15 December 2008
Credit Where Credit's Due, Says TV Star Branagh
Shakespearean actor, Kenneth Branagh, has been complaining about the BBC not giving appropriate time for TV programme credits. Currently starring as a Swedish detective in the much-praised BBC1 drama Wallander, the Belfast-born thespian has criticised the corporation for "zooming through" cast and crew credits.
07 November 2003
Trading Standards advise on Shop Electric & Electric World closure
Over 150 people have contacted the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s Trading Standards Service (TSS) concerned at the news that Shop Electric and Electric World stores have closed stores across Northern Ireland. Most queries relate to products bought but not delivered because of the timescale of the news.
18 June 2018
Tenants And Homeowners Urged To Check Eligibility For New Rate Rebate Scheme
Tenants and homeowners are being urged to check their eligibility for the new Rate Rebate Scheme. The new scheme, from Land & Property Services (LPS), entitles ratepayers in receipt of Universal Credit to a rebate on their rates and is being rolled out in conjunction with Universal Credit across Northern Ireland.
23 July 2013
Views Sought Over Welfare Reform
Due to the UK wide programme of Welfare Reform, the Northern Ireland Executive has said it must address the issue of rates support for low income households.
16 November 2012
Public Can Play 'Vital Role' In Welfare System
Nelson McCausland says the public has a vital role to play in shaping the new welfare system. "It is important to help people understand that there is a way out of poverty and to put the measures in place to help people help themselves," he said.
26 April 2012
'Poverty Horror' For Children Claim Causes Unnecessary Concern
Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland, today welcomed reports on the impact of welfare reform, but raised concerns that some of the conclusions may cause unnecessary concern for local families.
26 September 2017
Call For Roll-Out Of Universal Credit To Be Suspended
The Alliance Party is calling for the roll-out of universal credit in Northern Ireland to be suspended. Kellie Armstrong MLA made the call after the Department of Communities announced a planned phase launch on Wednesday, 27 September, starting in the Limavady area.