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The Department for Communities has reviewed and updated the rollout schedule for Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.
As a result, the rollout phase which was due to complete in September 2018 will now be extended to December 2018.
These changes have been made following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement in the 2017 Autumn Budget of a package of measures aimed at ensuring Universal Credit claimants receive either more or earlier access to payments.
In order to deliver this additional work, the Department for Work and Pensions have extended the national roll out of new claims to Universal Credit to December 2018.
The additional support for claimants and the extension to the national roll out of new claims are welcomed in Northern Ireland and accordingly the Department for Communities has also decided to extend its roll out to complete in December 2018.
To date, Universal Credit is operational in the Limavady, Ballymoney, Magherafelt, Coleraine, Strabane and Lisnagelvin areas. It will commence in Foyle and Armagh from 7 February, Omagh and Enniskillen from 21 February, and Dungannon and Portadown from 7 March, as originally planned.
The extended implementation timetable is outlined below:
16/05/2018 Newry, Downpatrick30/05/2018 Lurgan, Newcastle, Kilkeel13/06/2018 Falls, Shankill27/06/2018 Andersonstown, Banbridge05/09/2018 Holywood Road, Ballynahinch19/09/2018 Newtownabbey, Newtownards03/10/2018 Shaftesbury Sq, Carrickfergus17/10/2018 Knockbreda, Bangor31/10/2018 Lisburn, Larne14/11/2018 North Belfast, Cookstown05/12/2018 Ballymena, Antrim
The phased approach to implementation is helping to ensure that the Universal Credit service is working as anticipated and that claimants are coping with the move to a digital service. To date, approximately 1,500 claims have been received, of which 500 have now reached the end of their assessment period and are in payment. In addition, 700 advance payments have also been made to support claimants.
Further information on Universal Credit and the rollout schedule is available at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/universalcredit'