Northern Ireland news

Universal credit: When do benefit changes affect you?

Changes to the benefits system are due to be introduced to all parts of the north by Christmas 2018

CHANGES to the benefits system are due to be rolled out across the north by December.

Universal Credit, which replaces six existing benefits, has already been introduced in several areas including Magherafelt and Strabane. 

It is now being rolled out across Belfast from today.

Claimants in the Falls and Shankill areas will be the first in the city to get the new single payment.

Week commencing   Office
27/09/2017 Limavady
15/11/2017 Ballymoney
13/12/2017 Magherafelt and Coleraine
17/01/2018 Strabane and Lisnagelvin
07/02/2018 Foyle and Armagh
21/02/2018 Omagh and Enniskillen
07/03/2018 Dungannon and Portadown
16/05/2018 Newry and Downpatrick
30/05/2018 Lurgan, Newcastle and Kilkeel
13/06/2018 Falls and Shankill
27/06/2018 Andersonstown and Banbridge
05/09/2018 Holywood Road and Ballynahinch
19/09/2018 Newtownabbey and Newtownards
03/10/2018 Shaftesbury Square and Carrickfergus
17/10/2018 Knockbreda and Bangor
31/10/2018 Lisburn and Larne
14/11/2018 North Belfast and Cookstown
05/12/2018 Ballymena and Antrim

New claimants from the Limavady area of Co Derry were the first to claim Universal Credit in September last year.

People already claiming benefits including for housing and childcare will not be affected until 2019 unless their entitlement changes.

The change aims to simplify the benefits system. However, those opposed to the new benefit say it will bring hardship to low-income families who are already struggling to make ends meet.

Further information is available at www.nidirect.gov.uk

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