Universal Credit, the new benefit that will replace Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Tax Credits and Housing Benefit, is being rolled out in the Borders this week.
Not that too many people will notice because only a small number of claimants will be affected. It has been estimated that in 2015/16 there will be just over 1,000 people eligible to apply for Universal Credit in the Scottish Borders.
Being introduced in stages, Universal Credit will initially only affect new benefit claimants who are single, and even then only those in certain circumstances. And if you live in the Coldstream area you will not be affected as claimants in the TD12 postcode area are not included.
Current exclusions include: couples, home owners, people not fit for work, carers, self-employed, people who are studying, those paying child maintenance through the Child Maintenance Service and anyone earning more than £338 a month.
Councillor Frances Renton, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for social work and housing, said: “The council and partners have been working hard over a significant period of time to prepare for the implementation of Universal Credit in the Scottish Borders and a range of services have been put in place to help people who need assistance, including online form completion and personal budgeting support.”
All Universal Credit claims will need to be made online, except in exceptional circumstances. Support available to get online at SBC’s Libraries, Contact Centres and Library Contact Centres. Those requiring assistance will be able to get support from Jobcentre Plus.