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Universal credit is extended to Northern Ireland

Wednesday 27th September 2017

Despite recent calls for the rollout of Universal Credit to be suspended, this week sees the introduction of Universal Credit to Northern Ireland for the first time.

From Wednesday 25 September, Universal Credit will apply to new claimants who live in those areas served by the Limavady social security office. This includes many postcode areas that start with either BT47 and BT49.

Anyone of working age - including a parent with a disabled child - who lives in one of these areas, and who makes a new claim for one of the benefits Universal Credit is replacing, will be asked to claim Universal Credit instead.

However, there is an exemption for families who have three or more dependent children - they can still make new claims for the old benefits that Universal Credit is replacing.

Universal Credit will be gradually extended to other social security offices across Northern Ireland. Further information including the timetable for its introduction across Northern Ireland is available on the nidirect website.

Initially, Universal Credit will only apply to families making new claims. Existing claimants who do not have a change of circumstances will not be moved onto universal credit until 2019 at the earliest.

Contact's views on Universal Credit

Contact is calling on the government to take urgent action to scrap cuts to payments for disabled children under Universal Credit that will leave many families worse off by more than £1600 a year.

Contact is very worried that more than 100,000 parents with disabled children are at risk of being worse off on Universal Credit. For that reason we have asked the prime minister to reverse cuts to child disability payments under Universal Credit. More than 3,000 people signed our petition asking for this.

Further information

For advice about how Universal Credit will affect you, call or email our free helpline.