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Support available as Universal Credit rollout continues

Posted by Suffolk Coastal District Council on 2 October 2018 | Comments

The rollout of Universal Credit continues across the country, and Suffolk Coastal, but local people are being reassured that there is support in place to help them through the transition.

In Suffolk Coastal area the final Jobcentres to move over to Universal Credit Full Service are Leiston, Felixstowe and Woodbridge. These Jobcentres will become Full Service Jobcentres on 17 October 2018.

Universal Credit, which is assessed and awarded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is a new single benefit which brings together six of the existing ‘legacy benefits’ - Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

It aims to simplify the benefits system and help ensure people are better off in work. It is paid as a single monthly payment, direct to the customer, similar to a wage.

The changes mean that, from 17 October, any new claims for older-style legacy benefits made by people under pension age will now need to apply for Universal Credit instead, which has to be applied for online.

“We recognise that this is a period of uncertainty for people and want to make sure they are supported through the application process as well as having all the information they need about the benefit changes,” said Cllr Richard Kerry, whose portfolio on Suffolk Coastal’s Cabinet includes Universal Credit.

“A huge amount of information is already available on our website. We are also working with a whole range of partners to make sure that people in this area can access the support they need to take the worry and uncertainty out of the change to Universal Credit.”

The support available through Suffolk Coastal includes:

  • Help is available for people needing to make or maintain their online claim – they can visit us at one of our customer service centres across East Suffolk where “floorwalkers” are on hand to help, as well as public access terminals (computers) being available;
  • We can also help people applying for Universal Credit who want to look into how they can make the most of their new single monthly payment. Suffolk Coastal is working with Felixstowe Citizens Advice and Leiston, Saxmundham and District Citizens Advice to offer free personalised financial advice. This can be accessed by speaking to their work coach or talking to Citizens Advice directly;
  • Suffolk Coastal’s Housing Benefits and Housing Options teams are preparing for Universal Credit by working with Felixstowe, Leiston and Woodbridge Jobcentres, sharing our knowledge of Housing, Homelessness, Discretionary Housing Payments, help with making and maintaining an online claim and help moving over to a single monthly payment;
  • We are also working with Citizens Advice, Flagship and the Disability Advice Service to help people make or maintain the online Universal Credit claims;
  • A Private Landlords’ guide to Universal Credit has also been produced, following comments made in the Waveney area when Universal Credit was rolled out there. This is on our website.
  • We have worked with North East Suffolk and Felixstowe Citizens Advice to produce a social media video to help people prepare for UC – available on our website or on Youtube

 

Find out more on our Universal Credit page.