inside-givernement300,000 families better off under new benefit system

The next step in the government?s radical welfare reform programme will begin early, in parts of Greater Manchester and Cheshire, from April.

The newly unemployed will be the first to claim Universal Credit, which replaces a number of means tested benefits including Jobseeker?s Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits. Others will migrate onto the new benefit over the following four years.

Universal Credit will make sure that people are better off in work than on benefits by removing the disincentives that exist in the current system. In work and out of work benefits will be combined so that claimants who start work, even for a few hours a week, will see the rewards as they keep more of the money they earn.

 

National roll out of Universal Credit will begin from October and gradually extend to more people, with the full move to Universal Credit completed by 2017.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said:

“The new system will make work pay and protect the people who need it most. The clear work incentives of Universal Credit will result in up to 300,000 more people moving into work.?

New claims to Universal Credit will be made online at GOV.UK. Extra support will be available to help people make their claim and to move online in the future.

 

All Universal Credit claimants will need to accept a Claimant Commitment, which sets out what they are expected to do to receive their benefit, for example registering with Universal Jobmatch ? the DWP?s new online job posting and matching service ? creating a CV, or attending a skills course.? The Claimant Commitment will be individualised to take into account people?s personal circumstances, current situation and potential for future earnings. More will be expected from those who are unemployed and able to work, and there will be tough new penalties for those who can work but do not comply.

 

People who are unable to work, either because of their caring responsibilities, or because of a health condition or disability, will still have a Claimant Commitment but will not have to look for work.

 

Universal Credit will be different from many of the benefits it replaces as it will be claimed online. Payments will be made monthly, direct into a nominated account. Couples living in the same household and both claiming Universal Credit, will receive one payment into one account.

 

These changes will introduce greater fairness to the welfare system by

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