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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Universal credit to start in Foyle and Armagh

Armagh and Foyle are the next areas in Northern Ireland to have Universal Credit introduced on the 7 February 2018.

This new benefit will replace Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Income based Job Seekers Allowance and income related Employment and Support Allowance.  Anyone of working age who gets these benefits will be affected.

Residents in Armagh and Foyle claiming any of the above benefits for the first time will have to make a new online application for Universal Credit. They could then face a wait of 5 to 6 weeks before getting their first payment.

There could also be significant challenges for households who move from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit, due to a change in circumstances, putting peoples homes at risk.

Universal Credit is being introduced for new claims on a phased geographical basis across Northern Ireland from September 2017. The completion date was recently extended to December 2018.  

Impact of Universal Credit in England

Recent figures show that half of all council tenants across 105 English local authorities who receive the housing element of universal credit are at least a month behind on their rent, with 30% two months behind.

Get advice

Anyone who is worried about how Universal Credit might affect their housing situation should get advice.  Call Housing Rights helpline on 028 90 245640 and pick option 3 to chat to an adviser.


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Welfare Reform


Frances McGrath