Universal Credit will be introduced in the Larne area from Wednesday, October 31.
The new system replaces six existing benefits with one and is for people of working age (18 - state pension age). It is initially for new claimants.
People in Larne already claiming the existing benefits will not be affected and do not need to make a claim for Universal Credit at this time, unless their circumstances change. Existing claimants of these benefits who do not have a change in their circumstances will transfer to Universal Credit between July 2019 and March 2023.
Also beginning in the Lisburn area from the same date, Universal Credit has already been rolled out across a number of other areas of Northern Ireland.
David Sales, Universal Credit Programme director, explained: “Universal Credit is a significant change to how benefits are claimed. In order to ensure claimants get the support they need, it is being introduced gradually across Northern Ireland from September 2017. This means we have been able to closely manage and learn from the rollout to date.”
As Universal Credit replaces claims for multiple benefits with a single claim, it is, according to the Department for Communities, simpler to claim and more flexible. It aims to support people into work and to earn more without losing their benefits, while ensuring those who cannot work continue to receive the financial support they need. Claims are made online, with digital support available for those who may need it.