Universal credit is rolling out across Northern Ireland. It was introduced in September 2017. Since December 2018 most working age people making a new claim for social security assistance will claim universal credit instead of some of the current benefits, including Housing Benefit.
People who are already claiming other benefits will be moved over to universal credit eventually. The government hopes that this will happen by 2023.
What benefits are being replaced?
Universal credit will replace the following benefits
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Housing benefit
- Child tax credits
- Working tax credits
People who are currently claiming these benefits will continue to do so. But, if you make a new claim for benefits in a universal credit area, you’ll end up getting universal credit.
How does universal credit work?
Universal credit was set up as a simpler benefits system. Rather than receiving a number of different benefits from different government departments, you’ll just get one payment. This one payment will include money for your living, housing and caring needs. How much you receive depends on your personal circumstances.
When is it coming to my area?
Universal Credit has now been introduced to all areas of Northern Ireland. If you have to make a new claim for benefits, it's likely that you will have to claim Universal Credit. If you are already claiming benefits, you may have to move on to Universal Credit if your circumstances change.
If you are already claiming benefits and you don't experience any significant changes in your circumstances, you will stay on your existing benefits until the government moves you over to Universal Credit. This won't happen for a few years.