New support service to help with Universal Credit

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Residents experiencing problems with the Government’s new Universal Credit system will now be able to get help from a new support service run by Citizens Advice South Warwickshire.

A huge rise in the number of people turning to help from Stratford Foodbank has been blamed on the introduction of Universal Credit, whilst the Herald has also heard stories from those experiencing difficulties with claiming.

The new service is aimed at supporting those who have difficulty claiming online on the GOV UK website, either because of a mental of physical disability, difficulties with IT or other exceptional circumstances.

Help will be tailored to the individual and available over the phone 0800 144 8 444 and face to face through the local Jobcentre. This may include assistance with the online application form or help with providing evidence like childcare costs and bank details.

Budgeting advice will also be offered to help people manage a monthly payment.

Jeremy Vanes, chief executive officer of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire said: “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 are here to help.”

The charity has already helped more than 600 people locally with problems relating to Universal Credit. Nationally, Citizens Advice has helped over 230,000 people with Universal Credit.

People can access the service by phoning 0800 144 8 444 or visiting the website www.citizensadvice.org.uk