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16 July, 2020 Open access

Claimant commitments reintroduced for new universal credit claimants in Northern Ireland

Department for Communities also says that it is restarting the recovery of benefit overpayments and reinstating previously agreed repayment arrangements

Claimant commitments have been reintroduced for new universal credit claimants in Northern Ireland, and the Department for Communities says that it is restarting the recovery of benefit overpayments.

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department for Communities removed work search and work availability requirements for new and existing claims for jobseeker’s allowance and universal credit for three months from 30 March 2020, and earlier this month this was extended until 7 August 2020.

However, the Department for Communities has now updated its 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Benefits' web page to confirm that -

'From 15 July 2020, claimant commitments will be introduced for all universal credit new claims ...'

The Department adds that -

'Your work coach will contact you by telephone to discuss what activities you can do to help you move into employment and to offer support. You will be given notice of your telephone appointment on your journal.

It is important that we have this conversation with you as part of your universal credit application process.'

NB - Work search and work availability requirements will continue to be removed for existing universal credit claims, the Department for Communities says.

In addition, while in May 2020 the Department for Communities said that it was suspending the recovery of benefit overpayments and loans for three months, the updated web page advises -

'From July 2020 the Department for Communities will restart the recovery of overpayments and over a period of months will reinstate repayment arrangements that were previously agreed.'

For more information, see Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Benefits from nidirect.gov.uk