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The Universal Credit (Miscellaneous Amendments and Transitional and Savings Provisions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017

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EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

These Regulations make amendments to secondary legislation consequential on Articles 11 and 12 of the Welfare Reform and Work (Northern Ireland) Order 2016. (S.I. 2016/999 (N.I. 1)) (“the 2016 Order”).

Article 11 of the 2016 Order amends Article 17 of the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015,(S.I. 2015/2006 (N.I. 1) (“the 2015 Order”), which provides for an award of universal credit to include an amount in respect of such particular needs or circumstances as may be prescribed in regulations. It removes the provision in Article 17(2)(a) of the 2015 Order which provides that the fact that a claimant has limited capability for work is a need or circumstance that may be prescribed.

Article 12 of the 2016 Order makes amendments to Chapter 2 of Part 2 of the 2015 Order (claimant responsibilities) so that—

(a)responsible carers with a child aged 3 or 4 are subject to all work-related requirements; and

(b)responsible carers with a child aged 2 may be required to undertake work-focused interview requirements and work preparation requirements.

Regulation 2 amends provisions in the Universal Credit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 (S.R. 2016 No. 216) that provide for an award of universal credit to include an amount for the fact that a claimant has limited capability for work (“the LCW element”). References to the LCW element are omitted and other amendments consequential on the removal of that element are made. The table in regulation 38, which sets out the amounts of elements payable, is amended so as to omit the amount for the LCW element. Similar amendments have already been made to the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 (S.R. 2008 No. 280) so that an amount referred to as the work-related activity component which was paid when the claimant was found to have limited capability for work is now omitted (see the Employment and Support Allowance (Consequential Amendments and Transitional and Savings Provisions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017 (S.R. 2017 No. 51).

Regulation 3 makes amendments to the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 (S.R. 2016 No. 226) which are consequential on the removal of the LCW element from Universal Credit and the work-related activity component from Employment and Support Allowance.

Regulation 4 amends regulation 87 of the Universal Credit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016, which makes provision for the number of hours that a claimant is expected to comply with a work search requirement in any week. New sub-paragraph (aa) is inserted into regulation 87(2) which applies to responsible carers of a child under compulsory school age and makes provision for their expected number of hours to be the number of hours that the Department considers is compatible with their caring responsibilities. Responsible carers of a child under compulsory school age will no longer have to show that they have reasonable prospects of finding work within the expected number of hours set.

Regulation 5 introduces Schedule 1, which makes consequential amendments to other secondary legislation, and Schedule 2, which makes transitional and savings provisions.

Paragraphs 1 to 7 of Schedule 1 make amendments to secondary legislation to omit or substitute references to the LCW element.

Paragraphs 1 to 5 of Schedule 2 make savings and transitional provisions so that the amendments to the Universal Credit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 in regulation 2, the amendments to the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 in regulation 3 and the amendments to other secondary legislation in paragraphs 4 and 7 of Schedule 1, do not apply in the following circumstances for so long as the claimant is entitled to universal credit and has limited capability for work.

The circumstances are –

(a)where the award of universal credit is revised under Article 10 of the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 to include the LCW element following an appeal or revision of a decision not to award employment and support allowance under Part 1 of the Welfare Reform Act (Northern Ireland) 2007 (where the claim was made before 3rd April 2017);

(b)where the claimant was entitled to employment and support allowance immediately before 3rd April 2017 (provided the claimant was continuously entitled to employment and support allowance from 3rd April 2017 to the date on which the claim for universal credit is made);

(c)where the claimant entitled to the award was entitled to be credited with earnings equal to the lower earnings limit then in force in respect of a week to which regulation 8B(2)(a)(iv), (iva) or (v) of the Social Security (Credits) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1975 (S.R. 1975 No. 113) applies, and the claimant was not entitled to employment and support allowance, immediately before 3rd April 2017 (provided the claimant is entitled to be so credited in respect of each week that falls in the period beginning with 3rd April 2017 to the date on which the claim for universal credit is made or treated as made);

(d)where regulation 23, 24, 25, 27 or 28 of the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 applies to the claimant throughout the period beginning immediately before the 3rd April 2017 and ending with the date on which the claim for universal credit is made or treated as made.

An impact assessment has not been produced for this instrument as it has no impact on business or civil society organisations.

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