South Hams residents will now be able to get extra support from Citizens Advice as they submit their Universal Credit application to get their first full payment, including setting up an email address and UC account, filling in the online application form, confirming identity, providing evidence such as childcare costs and preparing for monthly payments. Help will be tailored to the individual and available either online, over the phone or face-to-face.
A recent survey by the charity found more than a third of people that Citizens Advice has helped with UC have struggled to provide the evidence needed to complete their initial claim.
Citizens Advice will continue to advise on ongoing benefit problems but the new service will provide extra support for first time and returning claimants and is being funded by the Department of Work and Pensions in recognition of the insight and experience that Citizens Advice has with the benefits system and the workload involved.
Nationally the charity has already helped more than 230,000 people with UC since its introduction. Citizens Advice offers free, independent, impartial and confidential advice, on lots of matters including debt & money management, housing, energy saving, employment, homelessness, consumer rights and benefits. The latter being one of the top issues which people come to the charity for help with.
Janie Moor, CEO of Citizens Advice South Hams says “The new Help to Claim service is available to everyone applying for Universal Credit. We’ve seen first-hand what can happen when people struggle to make a claim and their payments are delayed. Anyone who is unsure how to complete their claim can come and see us.”
Universal Credit is a new benefit that combines 6 benefits into 1, including Jobseekers Allowance and Working Tax Credits. It is now fully rolled out across the UK and when fully implemented, around 7 million people in England and Wales will be receiving it.
The Help to Claim service can be accessed on line at southhamscab.org.uk via the Search box or by calling the special Help to Claim line on 0800 144 8 444 or by coming into our offices at-
Follaton House, Plymouth Rd, Totnes TQ9 5NE, Monday-Thursday, 10am-1pm & 2pm-4pm
Or one of our drop in sessions between 9.30am & 12.30pm at –
The Mansion, Fore St, Totnes TQ9 5RP, every Wednesday
The Watermark, Leonards Rd, Ivybridge, PL21 0SZ, every Monday
Quay House, Ilbert Rd, Kingsbridge, TQ7 1DZ, every Tuesday
The Clinic, Mayor’s Ave, Dartmouth, TQ6 9NF, every Tuesday