Universal Credit starts to be rolled out across Northumberland

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Benefit claimants will start to receive ‘Migration Notice’ letters from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in September, telling them they are being switched to Universal Credit.

The six legacy benefits – income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support and Housing Benefit – are being replaced by this one benefit, and the rollout will be complete by the end of 2024.

The reason the six are being phased out is that they all have complex and inefficient systems based on aging, inflexible IT.

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Universal Credit, on the other hand, uses a modern, digital system.

All six 'legacy benefits' will be replaced by Universal Credit by the end of 2024.All six 'legacy benefits' will be replaced by Universal Credit by the end of 2024.
All six 'legacy benefits' will be replaced by Universal Credit by the end of 2024.

Not all legacy benefit claimants in Northumberland will receive a letter requiring them to move to Universal Credit, but a group of 250 will start to receive letters from September 12 onwards.

When claimants receive their Migration Notice letter, it will contain information needed to move to Universal Credit. This will include the exact date they need to claim by – which will give them three months to do so – as well as the next steps they need to take and other important information to help them make their claim.

A dedicated helpline – signposted on the letter claimants receive – will provide support to make their Universal Credit claim, and guidance will be available online. Those in need of further support can talk to staff at their local jobcentres in Cramlington, Bedlington, Ashington, Blyth, Hexham, Alnwick, Morpeth, and Berwick.

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Claimants can also use the separate Help to Claim service for support.

Minister for Welfare Delivery, David Rutley, said: “Universal Credit supported millions of people during the pandemic, and it continues to provide crucial financial support.

"It is an accessible and secure benefit, supporting people’s needs from month-to-month and opens up tailored support, helping customers get into and progress in work.”

Northumberland is home to more than 24,000 Universal Credit claimants. The benefit provides those who receive it with one-to-one tailored support to help them into employment or to further their career if they are able to work.

More details about Universal Credit can be found online via the Understanding Universal Credit website. Go to www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk.