Universal Credit: How has it been for you?

Universal Credit is being rolled out in Suffolk and north Essex Picture: KIRSTY O'CONNOR/PA WIRE

Universal Credit is being rolled out in Suffolk and north Essex Picture: KIRSTY O'CONNOR/PA WIRE - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The rollout of flagship welfare reform Universal Credit is almost complete in Suffolk and north Essex – with every district due to be phased in by January 2019.

Food being sorted at a foodbank. Plans to move more people on to Universal Credit could spark a huge

Food being sorted at a foodbank. Plans to move more people on to Universal Credit could spark a huge increase in the number of people using foodbanks, the Government is being warned Picture: JONATHAN BRADY/PA WIRE - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

People living in Suffolk Coastal, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Chelmsford are among the last to receive the benefit – while others, such as those in Sudbury and Waveney, have had it for nearly a year.

Its introduction has already triggered warnings from foodbanks, debt advisors and politicians.

Just this morning former Tory prime minister Sir John Major warned the scheduled national roll-out would lead to “chaos” similar to that of the poll tax in 1990.

He told the BBC Universal Credit was “impeccable” and “entirely logical” in theory, but called for its implementation to be considered.


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Now, as we head into winter, we want to know how it has affected you.

Share your experiences with us – positive or negative – by commenting below, emailing emily.townsend@archant.co.uk or using the form below.

What is Universal Credit?

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Universal Credit is a payment to help with living costs – it is paid monthly, or twice a month for some people in Scotland.

Those on a low income, or out of work, may be able to receive it.

According to government chiefs, whether you can claim Universal Credit depends on where you live, and your circumstances.

If you already get benefits, it will replace the following:

• Child tax credit

• Housing benefit

• Income support

• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

Sir John Major spoke to the BBC about Universal Credit this morning Picture: SCOTT HEPPELL/PA WIRE

Sir John Major spoke to the BBC about Universal Credit this morning Picture: SCOTT HEPPELL/PA WIRE - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

• Working tax credit

Payments are made up of a standard allowance and any extra amounts that apply, for instance if claimants have children, a disability or health condition preventing them from working, or need help paying their rent.

For more details, visit the government’s website.

READ MORE: Foodbank demand hits all-time high in wake of Universal Credit rolloutWhen will it affect you?

Braintree – October 25, 2017

Bury St Edmunds – December 12, 2018

Chelmsford – December 5, 2018

Clacton – July 25, 2018

Colchester – July 4, 2018

Ipswich – April 25, 2018

Mid Suffolk (inc. Stowmarket) – May 9, 2018

Newmarket – December 12, 2018

Sudbury – October 18, 2017

Suffolk Coastal (inc. Woodbridge, Felixstowe, Aldeburgh) – October 17, 2018

Waveney (inc. Southwold) – October 18, 2017

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