New jobseekers in Oldham and Warrington will be able to make a claim to Universal Credit from today (29 July 2013).
This marks the next step of the early roll-out of Universal Credit. It was launched 3 months ago in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire areas when Ashton-Under-Lyne Jobcentre began accepting claims, followed by Wigan Jobcentre 10 weeks later.
All 4 jobcentres are also trialling the Universal Credit Claimant Commitment and signing people up to Universal Jobmatch.
Universal Credit replaces the 6 main out-of-work benefits and is a key reform to ensure that people are better off in work. It will be rolled out gradually across the country from October.
Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:
Universal Credit is a modern, fit-for-purpose benefit that rewards people for taking up work and we are now accepting claims for the new benefit across the whole of the pathfinder area.
We will continue to monitor and learn from the introduction of Universal Credit as part of our plan to deliver the benefit in a safe and controlled manner.
The first claimants to Universal Credit are single jobseekers. These Universal Credit claims will respond in real time to changes in people’s circumstances, including when people move back into work.
The majority of claims for Universal Credit will be made online and it will be paid monthly directly into people’s accounts, the same way most people’s wages are.
People who claim Universal Credit have access to support delivered by a mix of local authorities and third sector organisations to help them budget their money and get on the internet to manage their claim online.
Universal Credit replaces Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Housing Benefit.
Jobcentre advisers and claimants agree a Claimant Commitment, based on their individual circumstances, which will clearly set out the jobseeker’s responsibilities to find work.
When a claimant starts work, Universal Credit will be steadily withdrawn as their income increases.
Universal Credit was introduced in the first pathfinder area on 29 April 2013.
The roll-out of Universal Credit will be completed across the UK by 2017.
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