Advice NI publish a comprehensive policy paper aimed at improving various fundamental problems affecting Universal Credit claimants.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the paper in View Digital magazine, Bob Stronge, Chief Executive of Advice NI said:

“Universal Credit is constantly in the headlines in Great Britain for all the wrong reasons, and we now have more and more people impacted in Northern Ireland. Advice NI has previously raised concerns about flaws with the online identity verification process and regarding claimants subjected to lengthy delays in getting their first Universal Credit payment.”

“Advice NI believes that now is the time for a fundamental review of the purpose of Universal Credit with a view to rebalancing the focus on meeting the needs of claimants as opposed to delivering value for money; focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable as much as it focuses on getting people back to work.”

“We hope that this paper will be a catalyst for change; a catalyst for improving Universal Credit for the vulnerable, low income working age households both working and not in work who rely on this new system for their social security.”

“Advice NI has previously called for the return of NI Assembly to make critical Welfare Reform decisions, and stated that if the Assembly, the Executive, the Minister and the scrutiny Committee is not in place then roll out of Universal Credit should be halted until our recommendations for improvement are implemented in full.”


Advice NI policy paper ‘Making UC Better’ is available here


Universal Credit replaces Jobseeker's Allowance (income based), Employment Support Allowance (income-related), Income Support, Housing Benefit (rental), Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits for working age people aged over 18 and under State Pension age.

Existing claimants will transfer to Universal Credit between 2019 and March 2023. Some claimants may move to Universal Credit earlier, if their circumstances change.

For anyone worried about Universal Credit or any of the welfare changes, Advice NI’s independent welfare changes Helpline is available on 0808 802 0020.

Universal Credit NI rollout schedule


Date Universal Credit will start

Jobs & Benefits / Social Security office

27 September 2017


15 November 2017


13 December 2017

Magherafelt and Coleraine

17 January 2018

Strabane and Lisnagelvin

7 February 2018

Foyle and Armagh

21 February 2018

Omagh and Enniskillen

7 March 2018

Dungannon and Portadown

16 May 2018

Newry and Downpatrick

30 May 2018

Lurgan, Newcastle and Kilkeel

13 June 2018

Falls and Shankill

27 June 2018

Andersonstown and Banbridge

5 September 2018

Holywood Road and Ballynahinch

19 September 2018

Newtownabbey and Newtownards

3 October 2018

Shaftesbury Square and Carrickfergus

17 October 2018

Knockbreda and Bangor

31 October 2018

Lisburn and Larne

14 November 2018

North Belfast and Cookstown

5 December 2018

Ballymena and Antrim