Citizens Advice launches new service for people applying for Universal Credit
Today Citizens Advice has launched a new service called “Help to Claim” for those who need help to apply for Universal Credit.
People will now be able to get support from the charity as they submit their Universal Credit application to get their first full payment.
Help will be tailored to the individual and available face-to-face, over the phone and online through webchat and advice content. This may include assistance with the online application form or help with providing evidence such as childcare costs.
The service is funded by £39 million from the Department of Work and Pensions.
A recent survey by the charity found more than a third of people Citizens Advice has helped struggled to provide the evidence needed to complete their Universal Credit claim.
The charity has already helped more than 230,000 people with Universal Credit since its introduction. Citizens Advice offers free, independent, impartial and confidential advice, with benefits the top issue for which people come for help.
The Help to Claim service will be delivered through the Citizens Advice network across England and Wales. Citizens Advice Scotland will be delivering the new service in Scotland.
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. When fully implemented, around 7 million people in England and Wales will be receiving Universal Credit.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Today we’re launching a new service specifically for those who need help applying for Universal Credit.
“We offer free, independent, impartial and confidential advice to millions of people every year, and have already helped more than 230,000 people with Universal Credit. We’ve seen first-hand what can happen when people struggle to make a claim and their payments are delayed.
“Delivering this new service will give us even greater insight into people’s experiences. We’ll use that knowledge to continue to call for improvements so the Universal Credit system works for the people we help.”
Notes to editors
Citizens Advice will deliver Help to Claim in England and Wales through its network of independent local charities from April 2019 until April 2020. Citizens Advice Scotland will be delivering the new service in Scotland.
Citizens Advice is made up of the national charity Citizens Advice; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.
Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers.
Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and postal markets. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free and independent support for both prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.
Citizens Advice also offers Pension Wise appointments at 500 locations across England and Wales.
The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
Last year we helped over 2.7 million people face to face, by phone, email or web chat. For full service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.