CHANGES to the way benefits are paid are being rolled out across Pembrokeshire today (Wednesday, September 5).

People who receive benefits in Haverfordwest, Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock will now be paid through the Universal Credit system.

This new welfare system brings together a series of different benefits which were previously paid separately.

What is Universal Credit?

The payments being brought together under universal credit are:

• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

• Income Support

• Income-based Employment and Support Allowances

• Working Tax Credits

• Child Tax Credits

• Housing Benefit

From today anyone in Haverfordwest, Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock who would previously have made a claim to any of these benefits will instead claim Universal Credit.

What do these changes mean?

Pembrokeshire’s Citizens Advice is asking people to be aware of three key changes under the new system.

• Universal Credit payments are made in arrears once a month, rather than every week. The date you get paid will depend on when you make your claim.

• Payments will go straight into your bank account. This means you may need to set up standing orders for expenses, like rent, if it was paid directly to your landlord under the old benefits system.

• New Universal Credit applications, and any change in your circumstances, need to be made online.

How is it going to affect people?

Universal Credit is being rolled out in Pembrokeshire

By 2022, Universal Credit is expected to affect 10,500 households across Preseli Pembrokeshire and 9,500 in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire to help people prepare for Universal Credit, Pembrokeshire Citizens Advice is highlighting how it differs to previous benefits.

Last year, the government made a number of changes to Universal Credit to help people avoid financial difficulty while they wait for their first payment.

This includes the removal of the seven waiting days before a claimant can apply for Universal Credit.

The government claims under Universal Credit, claimants are better off when they move into work because the benefit gradually decreases as they earn more, replacing the benefits “cliff edge” of the past.

What are people saying about the changes?

Minister for Employment Alok Sharma said: “Universal Credit is central to our commitment to help families improve their lives by moving into work.

“We know it’s working – with Universal Credit people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system.”

West Wales AM Eluned Morgan said: “For many people, especially those on lower incomes, the changing benefits system and the increasing cost of living is making life much more stressful and that isn’t good for our health.

“I’ve recently met with Martin Lewis, the moneysaving expert, who agrees that not enough is being done to help people manage their money, and is concerned about the impact on peoples mental health.”

Eluned Morgan AM.

Rhys Morgan, local Jobcentre Plus Service Leader, said: “Universal Credit offers tailored support, which includes more personalised help from a work coach. The new system is also more flexible, which means people can take on short-term work to develop their skills and build up their experience.

“Our staff are trained to support people throughout the claim process. We’d encourage anyone who needs extra help or information to come and talk to their work coach.”

More information...

Those on Universal Credit will now have 24-hour access to an online account that they can use to manage their claim, including reporting changes of circumstances, checking the details of their claim and date of their next Universal Credit payment.

Detailed information on how to claim Universal Credit is available at