Training courses on Universal Credit for your colleagues and staff will be vital preparation for the biggest shake up of welfare benefits since the 1940s.
The roll out of Universal Credit is a constantly evolving process. The original ten pathfinder areas are now enabled to accept claims from couples and, soon, families. More Jobcentre Plus areas, mainly in the north-west, are coming on-stream every week. Iain Duncan Smith has announced an accelerated roll-out across the country, starting in early 2015. Now is the time to ensure you understand what is happening.
The principle of Universal Credit is to amalgamate most of the current ‘means-tested’ benefits currently available to working-age people (including single people and disabled people) into one flexible benefit, which will cover all the family’s needs, including rent, mortgage payments and childcare costs. The amount of Universal Credit is reduced as income rises, and benefit is paid monthly in arrears. The effect of change, especially on existing claimants, cannot be overstated.
Every organisation which either works with, or employs, people on benefits and low to average pay will need to have an awareness of the new benefit system, the timetable for changeover, and the implications for vulnerable and disabled people.
I can offer specific Universal Credit training, or more general welfare reform training which incorporates Universal Credit – it’s up to you.
Please contact me if you would like to discuss how I can help your organisation prepare for a period of significant change and uncertainty.