Only a small number of people in the Borders will be affected by this week’s initial rollout of Universal Credit in the area by the Department for Work and Pensions, according to Scottish Borders Council.
Being introduced in stages, Universal Credit will, at this time, only affect new benefit claimants who are single, and even then only those in certain circumstances.
Current exclusions include couples, home owners, people not fit for work, carers, self-employed, people who are studying, those paying child maintenance through the Child Maintenance Service and anyone earning over £338 a month.
Universal Credit is a new benefit for some people who are on a low income or out of work and will replace Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Based Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Tax Credits and Housing Benefit. It is estimated in 2015/16 there will be just over 1,000 people eligible in the Borders.
Councillor Frances Renton, SBC’s executive member for social work and housing, said: “The council and partners have been working hard over a significant period to prepare for the implementation of Universal Credit in the Borders and a range of services have been put in place to help people who need assistance, including online form completion and personal budgeting support.”
All Universal Credit claims will need to be made online, except in exceptional circumstances.