28 July 2016
Universal credit update
Written statement to Parliament - 20 July 2016
The new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Damien Green provided a written statement to Parliament on 20 July 2016 setting out a number of changes for Universal Credit. We have now incorporated all of these announcements into our main website text.
The main announcement is that the roll-out of Universal Credit will be further delayed – existing claimants of tax credits and other benefits were expected to be moved to UC from 2018 with a completion date in 2021. Under the new plans, migration will not begin until July 2019 and will now be complete by March 2022. This is to allow a contingency period between September 2018 and June 2019, as suggested by the National Audit Office.
At present, if you live in an area that has full (digital) UC service, you can no longer make a new claim for tax credits unless you are over state pension credit age. However, as part of the latest announcement, DWP seem to be planning to add an exception to this rule for families with more than two children by confirming that such families will be able to make new tax credit claims until November 2018. We will update this blog and website with more details as soon as they are published.
The other changes include:
- The policy to remove the higher rate of the child element for the first child in Universal Credit will only apply where the first child is born after 6 April 2017 to bring it into line with tax credits. When first announced, the change was due to apply to all new UC claims from 6 April 2017.
- The incorporation of Housing Benefit for pensioners into pension credit will not begin until the completion of the UC timetable. The announcement was silent on the incorporation of child tax credit into pension credit.
- The regulations on the treatment of surplus earnings and self-employed losses in UC, originally due to be implemented in April 2016 but later delayed to April 2017, will now not come into force until April 2018.
DWP also announced the next Jobcentre sites for UC roll-out – the postcode areas are not yet known but the list of Jobcentres through to March 2017 can be found on GOV.UK.
On the same day, the Department of Communities confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph that roll-out of UC in Northern Ireland would be delayed until Autumn 2017 but would still be complete during 2018.
You can find out the detail about who can claim Universal Credit in our new section on the main website.
Full (Digital) service roll-out continues
On 27 July 2016, a number of postcodes became part of the full (digital) UC service. These postcodes were previously part of the live service. Existing UC claimants in those areas are expected to be moved from the live service to the digital service within 3 months. The postcodes are:
- W14 0, W14 4, W14 8, W14 9
- WA7, WA8 0, WA8 2, WA8 3, WA8 6, WA8 7, WA8 8, WA8 9
- LA1, LA2 0, LA2 6, LA2 9, LA3, LA4, LA5 8, LA5 9
- BA3 5, BA4, BA5, BA6, BA11, BA16, BS27, BS28
You can find out further information about what this means on our digital service page. To find out if UC is available in your area, and whether you can still claim tax credits and other benefits, check out our new web tool www.universalcreditinfo.net