Universal Credit opens to all benefit claimants for first time

25 May 16

The government’s flagship Universal Credit benefit reform scheme has been opened up to all claimants for the first time in five parts of England.

Full implementation of the scheme, which combines six existing benefits into a single payment, has been delayed after a series of IT problems.

It was opened up to all single claimants in May, and from Wednesday could be claimed by all, including couples and families in Bath, Newcastle, Bridgwater, Rugby and Lowestoft.

Welfare reform minister Lord Freud said that this was a landmark in the rollout of Universal Credit, which is expected to be fully in place by the end of 2021.

“Universal Credit is transforming lives and is central to our vision of a society where anyone, regardless of their background, can get on in life and reach their potential,” he said.

“Universal Credit simplifies the system and is much more flexible, enabling claimants who may have been out of a job for a while to take on small amounts of work to build up their skills and confidence. Today sees the next step in revolutionising welfare by expanding Universal Credit to make it available to the full range of claimants, and bringing the additional support it offers to parents to help them re-enter the world of work.”

The six benefits replaced by Universal Credit, which will be paid in a single monthly payment to a household, are: jobseeker’s allowance, income support, employment and support allowance, working tax credit, child tax credits and housing benefit.

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