News article

Universal Credit: Northern Ireland roll-out

5 February 2018


Universal Credit has been introduced to Northern Ireland for new claims.

Universal Credit replaces six existing benefits with one. It is for people aged 18 to State Pension age and aims to remove many of the barriers to work which exist in the current welfare system.

What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a payment for working-age people who are on a low income or are out of work. To get Universal Credit, a person must be aged 18 or over and be under State Pension age. It will be paid twice a month and includes support for the cost of housing, children and childcare, as well as financial support for disabled people, carers and people who are too sick to work.

Introduction of Universal Credit
Universal Credit was introduced across Northern Ireland for new claims in the period from September 2017 to December 2018.

People claiming any of the six benefits that Universal Credit replaced, who have a change of circumstances, may move to Universal Credit from the date of the change of circumstances.

People claiming any of the six benefits that Universal Credit replaced, who do not have a change of circumstances will be transferred to Universal Credit between 2020 and 2023.  The Department for Communities will contact them when it is time for them to move.

Impact on employers
You may find that some of your existing employees will start to receive Universal Credit or you may recruit someone who is receiving it.

Universal Credit is designed to deal with changes in earnings, allowing claimants to receive it when they are both in and out of work. This means that payments will not end when earnings increase, rather they will gradually decrease until wages reach a point that allows the claimant to leave Universal Credit. Universal Credit employer guidance (PDF, 93K).