The Scotland Act 2016 gave the Scottish Government powers to vary how Universal Credit is paid in Scotland. The Scottish Government’s priority is to give claimants of Universal Credit living in Scotland a choice to be paid either monthly or twice monthly and a choice to have the relevant housing costs in their award of Universal Credit paid direct to their landlord in socially or privately rented accommodation. The Department for Work and Pensions will deliver the Scottish Government’s policy. These variations are known as Universal Credit “Scottish Flexibilities” and will be made available to eligible claimants from 4 October 2017. The Department for Work and Pensions retains responsibility for the delivery of Universal Credit as it remains a reserved benefit.
What will happen from 4 October?
•Initially, the Universal Credit Scottish Flexibilities may be available only to claimants making a new Universal Credit claim, in full service areas, living in Scotland – if they make a claim on or after 4 October 2017. Full service claimants are those who make and maintain their claim online.
•Please use this link to determine which areas are full or live service.
•Alternative Payment Arrangements will still be available for all claimants who satisfy the relevant criteria. Claimants with an Alternative Payment Arrangement for either More Frequent Payments or Managed Payments to Landlord will not be eligible for the corresponding Universal Credit Scottish Flexibilities.
•People currently in receipt of Universal Credit do not need to take any action now. Landlords and other stakeholders also do not need to take action now.
•The Scottish Government and the Department for Work and Pensions are working together to ensure safe and secure delivery of these changes. The design for delivery is currently under development.
•Discussions are currently taking place regarding the offer of these choices to existing full service claimants and we will share further detail about this group’s eligibility when known.
•It is the Scottish Government’s aspiration to offer a third flexibility – split payments of Universal Credit within a household. This may be offered to Universal Credit claimants in the future.
•DWP and the Scottish Government will release more detailed information regarding the priority Universal Credit Scottish Flexibilities to all stakeholders – including landlords, housing associations and third sector organisations – before 4 October 2017.
If you have any queries about the content of this message please contact: Frank McGregor (Scottish Government) – firstname.lastname@example.org