On 29 April 2013 the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) introduced, on a “pathfinder” basis, a new benefit called Universal Credit in some jobcentres in the Greater Manchester area.
Universal Credit aims to simplify the benefit system by bringing together the current working-age benefits for those in and out of work into a single payment system. For more information visit the DWP website.
The 'pathfinder' areas have been piloting the introduction of Universal Credit for selected types of claimants who would under the previous benefits regime have qualified for income based Job Seekers Allowance.
DWP subsequently announced that Universal Credit will be rolled out in a further 6 jobcentres across the UK between October 2013 and April 2014. This further rollout will be restricted to the same claimants as are eligible for the pathfinder.
One of the jobcentres involved in this next stage of the rollout will be Inverness. For people claiming Universal Credit through the Inverness jobcentre during this period, receipt of Universal Credit will form one of the criteria that are considered when assessing eligibility to passported benefits in Scotland.
Welfare Reform Committee, Scottish Parliament
Gov.uk - simplifying the Welfare System
Citizens Advice Bureaux - Advice Guide
DWP publication - Universal Credit: the impact on passported benefits