Universal Credit to replace old benefits system in Barking and Dagenham from March

PUBLISHED: 07:29 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:37 28 February 2018

Barking's job centre in Wakering Road. Picture: John Hercock

Barking's job centre in Wakering Road. Picture: John Hercock


Universal Credit, the government’s replacement benefits system, will come into force in Barking and Dagenham in March.

The system is replacing five means-tested benefits: income support, jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit and working tax credit.

It will affect 22,000 families in Barking and Dagenham, including 42,000 children. 38 per cent of children in the borough are thought to be living in poverty.

Universal Credit is being rolled out gradually across the country. From March, any new benefit claims in Barking and Dagenham will be under universal credit, except for families with three or more children, who will continue to receive tax credits. Existing claimants will be moved over between 2019 and 2022.

It is designed to incentivise people to work, with critics of the old system claiming it was more economical to claim benefits than work on a low wage.

Aside from domestic violence victims or carers of young children, claimants must demonstrate they are seeking employment, or, if in work already, looking to increase their earnings.

Recipients have to wait five weeks from claiming until they receive their first payment under universal credit, and are paid monthly from then on.

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