Universal Credit is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income.
The DWP says that Universal Credit will help claimants and their families to become more independent and will simplify the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single streamlined payment.
The main differences between Universal Credit and the current welfare system are:
- Universal Credit will be available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as to those who are out of work
- Most people will apply online and manage their claim through an online account
- Universal Credit will be responsive, as people on low incomes move in and out of work, they’ll get ongoing support – giving people more incentive to work for any period of time that is available
- Most claimants on low incomes will still be paid Universal Credit when they first start a new job or increase their part-time hours
- Claimants will receive just one monthly payment, paid into a bank account in the same way as a monthly salary
- Support with housing costs will go direct to the claimant as part of their monthly payment.
Why is Universal Credit an IT issue?
For two separate but linked reasons:
- To implement the changes, significant alternations to the current technology systems in place to manage benefits will have to be made
- To receive benefits and manage their finances from 2013 onwards, claimants of Universal Credit will require secure access to a computer and need to have a basic level of IT literacy