If you’re out of work or on a low income, you may be able to claim Universal Credit to boost the money you have coming in.
Universal Credit is the new single benefit payment which will replace a range of other benefits for people of working age. It will be paid fortnightly/monthly. Claims for existing benefits and credits will be phased out gradually.
The benefits to be replaced by Universal Credit are:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
Universal Credit will be made up of a standard allowance and five elements, including a Carer Element and a Housing Element. The amount you get will depend on your circumstances.
Will Universal Credit affect me?
- you are of State Pension age and live with a younger spouse or partner who receives any of the above benefits. This is because the amount you get from certain benefits depends on your joint income.
- you claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit. Eventually, Pension Credit will be changed to include an element called Housing Credit for people who need help paying their rent.
- you claim Pension Credit and Tax Credits. Eventually, the Guarantee part of Pension Credit will be changed to include an additional amount for dependent children.
You will claim and manage Universal Credit through an online account, but there will also be telephone and face-to-face support available for those who need it.
Universal Credit will replace some means-tested benefits paid to people of working age. It is gradually being rolled out. When introduced, it will eventually affect new claims for Pension Credit for couples where one person is over the qualifying age for Pension Credit and one is under.
Couples who are already receiving Pension Credit when Universal Credit is introduced will not be affected and will be able to continue to claim Pension
|Date Universal Credit will start||Jobs & Benefits / Social Security Office|
|27 September 2017||Limavady|
|15 November 2017||Ballymena|
|13 December 2017||Magherafelt & Coleraine|
|17 January 2018||Strabane & Lisnagelvin|
|7 February 2018||Foyle & Armagh|
|21 February 2018||Omagh & Enniskillen|
|7 March 2018||Dungannon & Portadown|
|16 May 2018||Newry & Downpatrick|
|30 May 2018||Lurgan, Newcastle & Kilkeel|
|13 June 2018||Andersonstown & Banbridge|
|27 June 2018||Falls & Shankill|
|5 September 2018||Holywood Road & Ballynahinch|
|19 September 2018||Newtownabbey & Newtownards|
|3 October 2018||Shaftesbury Square & Carrickfergus|
|17 October 2018||Knockbreda & Bangor|
|31 October 2018||Lisburn & Larne|
|14 November 2018||North Belfast & Cookstown|
|5 December 2018||Ballymena & Antrim|
Will the benefit cap affect me?
The benefit cap is a new limit on the amount that most people of working age can get in benefit payments. You’ll also be affected if you’re over 65 and live with a spouse or partner who is under 65.
Call the Age NI Advice and Advocacy Service on freephone 0808 808 7575 to find out when it will be rolled out. When the cap is in place, the limit of how much you can get will be £350 for a single person and £500 for couples. Certain people will be exempt from the benefit cap, for example if you’re in the support group for Employment Support Allowance.
The Department for Communities (DFC) will contact you if the benefit cap will affect you. If your total benefits are more than the cap, your Housing Benefit will be reduced.
For advice and information about Universal Credit, and how it might affect you, or your family, call the Age NI Advice and Advocacy Service on freephone 0808 808 7575.
Use the online benefits calculator to find out much money could you claim.
Every year our Advice Service deals with thousands of calls from older people in need. Call us today to make sure that you are receiving all the help and support available to you.