More people in Buxton and Matlock will be able to claim Universal Credit from today (Wednesday).
Universal Credit, which replaces six benefits with one monthly payment, has already been claimed in the area by single jobseekers.
But it has now been expanded so from today, anyone who would previously have made a claim to income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working and Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit will instead claim Universal Credit. The expansion means Universal Credit is now available to people in and out of work, those on low incomes, families and those with disabilities.
Families on Universal Credit who move into work can claim back up to 85 per cent of their eligible childcare costs.
The Department for Work and Pensions said Universal Credit is simplifying the system and revolutionising welfare by making work pay. It added that it also helps those who are in work to increase their hours and earnings.
A £1.5bn package of improvements making it easier for people moving on to Universal Credit was announced in the Budget. People applying to Universal Credit can now receive a 100 per cent advance on their first payment and the seven-day waiting period for new claimants was removed earlier this year.
Minister for Employment Alok Sharma said: “Universal Credit is central to our commitment to help families improve their lives by moving into work. We know it’s working – with Universal Credit people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system.
“And now we are rolling it out to a wider range of people in a safe and controlled way. From today, more people in Buxton and Matlock, including families and disabled people, can claim Universal Credit and access the extra help it provides.”
In Buxton and Matlock single jobseekers are already receiving support from their dedicated work coach to find employment or increase their hours and earnings. Now, all types of claimants will be able to benefit from the improved, personalised, one-to-one support that Universal Credit offers.
Chimene Cutler, local Jobcentre Plus Partnership Manager, said: “Universal Credit offers tailored support, which includes more personalised help from a work coach. The new system is also more flexible, which means people can take on short-term work to develop their skills and build up their experience.
“Our staff are trained to support people throughout the claim process. We’d encourage anyone who needs extra help or information to come and talk to their work coach.”
Those on Universal Credit will now have 24-hour access to an online account that they can use to manage their claim, including reporting changes of circumstances, checking the details of their claim and date of their next Universal Credit payment.
Under Universal Credit, claimants are better off when they move into work because the benefit gradually decreases as they earn more; smoothing the path to employment and replacing the benefits cliff edge of the past. As part of this, the Work Allowance - the amount someone can earn before their Universal Credit is reduced – was raised by 3 per cent from April 2018. This means a working family not in receipt of housing support are able to earn £409 per month before their benefit claim is affected.