Universal Credit claimants can currently access ‘Personal Budgeting Support’ and ‘Assisted Digital Support’ through Knowsley Council. However, the Department for Work and Pensions has decided that from, April 2019, this ‘Universal Support’ will be provided by Citizens Advice nationally and, locally, by Citizens Advice Knowsley. The service is being re-badged as “Help to Claim” and will be available to all those making a new claim for Universal Credit. Support will be provided up until the first Universal Credit payment is received and will include:-
- Universal Credit entitlement checks and support to start a claim;
- Set up email and online Universal Credit accounts;
- Verify identity (using the Department for Work and Pensions “Verify” system);
- Applications for ‘adaptions and easements’ (including direct payments to Landlords, more frequent payments and Advance Payments; and,
- Referral on to longer term support (for example, debt and housing).
Referrals to the service can be made direct by the claimant, who can ‘self-refer’, as well as by the Jobcentre, Local Authority, Housing Providers and other agencies.
To access the service, telephone 0800 144 8 444 to arrange an appointment at a local Citizens Advice office.
The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 6.00 pm Calls are free from landline or mobile
For more information, go to the Citizens Advice Knowsley
General budgeting/money advice will continue to be available for residents through the Council’s Money Advisor who works on secondment as part of the Council’s Emergency Support Scheme within the Benefits Service and the Council’s One Stop Shop ‘Digital Champions’ will still be available to support residents to get online/use online services. However, residents who need support specifically related to claiming Universal Credit should be referred to the new “Help to Claim” Service.