PEOPLE across North Ayrshire in receipt of benefits are being reminded that major changes are on the way.

The next phase of the (DWP) roll-out of Universal Credit begins on November 22 which will see six benefits and tax credits replaced with a single monthly payment for the majority of working age claimants.

Since 2015, a small number of people have been claiming Universal Credit in North Ayrshire.

Universal Credit is a new type of welfare benefit administered by the DWP which is paid to those who are out of work and some people who are in work but on a low income.

The changes will see Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit replaced by a new single payment.

For those out of work, Universal Credit will provide a single payment each month. In return for that payment, DWP will expect Universal Credit claimants to seek work.

Universal Credit will also apply to people in-work but earning below a certain amount.

Where this is the case, it will work like tax credits, in that income will be topped up to a certain level. The introduction of Universal Credit will also mean that:

· Residents will have to wait six weeks before receiving their first payment.

· The payments will be monthly rather than fortnightly

· People will still receive help with their housing costs through Universal Credit, however rent will not be paid directly to landlords by DWP as a matter of course – in most cases claimants will need to make sure their rent is paid.

Universal Credit will also be digital so residents will need to access IT facilities and have the skills to claim through an online customer portal and maintain their claim online through their Personal Journal. People can access IT facilities at their local library.