Universal Credit roll-out begins in the Berwick area

Universal Credit is now being rolled out across the Berwick area.

Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 08:03 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 08:09 am
Brought to you by the Berwick Advertiser team.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says more people across Berwick 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.

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Anyone in Berwick 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 now claim Universal Credit.

A £4.5billion cash boost into Universal Credit was announced in the Budget.

The DWP will be increasing the amount people can earn on Universal Credit by £1,000 before their payment begins to be reduced, and provide a ‘run on’, worth on average £200, to claimants moving onto the system to ensure to a smooth transition.

This is on top of the improvements it has already made as part of our continued ‘test andlearn’ approach – advances have increased to 100%, it is paying housing benefit for an additional two weeks when people move onto Universal Credit, and it also recently announced a £39million partnership with Citizens Advice to provide Universal Support, which will help people make and manage their Universal Credit claim.

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.”

In Berwick, 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.

Steve McCall, local 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.

Under Universal Credit, claimants are better off when they move into work because the benefit gradually decreases as they earn more; smoothing the path to employment and replacing the benefits cliff edge of the past.

As part of this, the Work Allowance - the amount someone can earn before their Universal Credit is reduced – was raised by 3% from April 2018. This means a working family not in receipt of housing support are able to earn £409 per month before their benefit claim is affected.

Further support for working families under Universal Credit means that those who move into work can claim back up to 85% of their eligible childcare costs, potentially boosting their finances by over £13,000 a year.