House of Commons Library

Universal Credit: roll out

Published Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Universal Credit (UC) is the Government’s new working-age benefit. The Government is currently rolling out the UC full service, the service all areas will eventually use, across Great Britain. Our UC roll out tool shows when the UC full service launched, or is scheduled to launch, at jobcentres in and around your constituency.

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Universal Credit (UC) is the Government’s new working-age benefit. It is replacing six working-age benefits in an attempt to reduce the complexity of the benefits system. Specifically, UC aims to replace:

  • Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income based Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support (for working age claimants)
  • Housing Benefit (for working age claimants)
  • Child and Working Tax Credits

The Government started rolling out UC in 2013 and aimed to finish in 2018 but, because of delays, will now not finish until 2022.

The live service and the full service

There are two different systems: the live service and the full service. Which system is in place in an area determines who can claim UC and how they claim it.

Under the live service only people in relatively simple circumstances can claim - usually single, unemployed people without children or rent. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has not accepted any new claims to the live service since 1 January 2018.

Under the full service – the service all areas will eventually use – everyone eligible will be able to claim UC no matter what their circumstances (with limited exceptions).

262 jobcentres were operating the full service as of 1 May 2018

The DWP is now rolling out the UC full service across Great Britain. Around 262 jobcentres were operating the full service in Great Britain as of 1 May 2018, around 40% of the total 643 expected to administer UC once roll out is complete.

A further 381 jobcentres are scheduled to launch the full service between May 2018 and the end of the year.

Roll out was, in terms of claimants, around 11% of the way through as of December 2017

As of December 2017 there were around 660,220 households on UC across Great Britain, compared to around 5.2 million households claiming at least one of the benefits/tax credits UC is replacing. This suggests that UC roll-out was, in terms of claimants, around 11% of the way through as of December 2017. Note, however, that roll-out to those claiming unemployment benefit specifically is likely to be considerably more advanced than to other benefit claimants (such as those receiving housing or incapacity benefits).

Our Insight article Universal Credit: how is my constituency affected? provides further information on how our constituency estimates are calculated.

Our Universal Credit roll out tool

Our UC roll out tool shows when the UC full service launched, or is scheduled to launch, in jobcentres in and around your constituency.

Using the tool - available to download below – users can select their constituency and view the jobcentres most relevant to them. The tool also provides our estimates for the proportion of working age benefit claimants who have moved on to UC so far, by constituency and region.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8308

Author: Richard Keen

Topics: Benefits administration, Benefits policy, Family benefits, Housing benefits, Working age benefits

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