A charity has launched a scheme to help people in Horsham apply for Universal Credit.
Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East) has created ‘Help to Claim’ for those who need help signing up in and around Horshamthe town.
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 each individual and is available in person, over the phone (0800 144 8 444) or via webchat. For webchat and self-help information, such as assistance with the online applications form or providing evidence like childcare costs, visit www.advicewestsussex.org.uk and click ‘I need help’.
A Citizens Advice Universal Credit adviser will be at Horsham Jobcentre Plus every Monday and Thursday, 10am-2pm to help people with their applications. There is no need to make an appointment.
People can also get help at Citizens Advice Horsham (Lower Tanbridge Road) and at any local Citizens Advice service in the community: visit www.advicewestsussex.org.uk for locations and opening hours.
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 2,000 people locally with problems relating to Universal Credit in the last 12 months. Nationally, Citizens Advice has helped over 230,000 people with Universal Credit.
The Help to Claim service will be delivered through the Citizens Advice network across England and Wales. Citizens Advice Scotland will also be delivering the new service in Scotland.
Universal Credit is a new benefit that combines six benefits into one, 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.
Julie Martin, chief officer of Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East) said: “We have now launched a new service specifically for those who need help applying for Universal Credit.
“We offer free, independent, impartial and confidential advice to people in the community every day and have developed an expertise in dealing with Universal Credit.
“We’ve seen first-hand what can happen when people struggle to make a claim and their payments are delayed.
“We encourage anyone who needs help with their application to get in touch with us either in-person, over the phone or over webchat – please visit www.advicewestsussex.org.uk and click ‘I need help’.”