THE GOVERNMENT’s flagship benefits system Universal Credit is continuing to roll-out across Greater Manchester.
Universal Credit has been introduced at many Job Centre’s ahead of its planned completion of the nationwide roll-out for new claimants by September 2018.
Initially, the benefit was only available to single jobseeker’s and families with children. But the roll-out of Universal Credit ‘full service’ makes the benefit available to all new claimants as it expands across the county.
Julie Wills, Salford Partnership Manager, Department for Work and Pensions said the roll-out will simplify the benefits system when it arrives in Salford in September 2018.
“It’s designed to improve people’s lives, to make work pay, it’s there to support people into work and ultimately reduce dependency on getting benefits.”
However, new claimants will need to make their claim online, “Full service, will be purely digital, and it will require people to have a digital account to interact with the Job Centre.”
“We’re working in partnership with a number of organisations and our colleagues in the local authority to ensure that support is in place”.
The roll-out of Universal Credit will not affect existing claimants who will instead migrate to Universal Credit from July 2019.
However, not everyone is convinced by the roll-out of Universal Credit.
Claimant, Emma Mohareb, of Hyde, said: “I believe Universal Credit is a disaster, the community are scared for tomorrow, they are in debt rent arrears, I know a lot that have them.”
“I’ve not been paid on time once,” the mother-of-an-eight-year-old-daughter said, “They take my child’s money as well, if I am sanctioned and that makes you think, what will I do?”
Miss Mohareb, said Universal Credit makes it more difficult to budget her spending, “You live a month behind. You don’t find out what you are getting until the end of the month, so I won’t know what my Universal Credit entitlement is for January, until the 30th of December.”
Universal Credit is now paid monthly and new claimants can wait up to five-weeks for their first payment. Previously, a majority of benefits got paid to claimants every two-weeks.
VIDEO: Universal Credit rolls out across Greater Manchester