The ‘Help to Claim’ support will continue to be delivered independently for another year by Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland, following a £22m investment by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Over three-quarters of a million people have received support though Help to Claim. The support, which is now in its fifth year, aims to provide support to guide people through the Universal Credit claim process.
The DWP is extending this the scheme by adding £22m of investment, and has said that the money will ensure that support is available to help people make a new Universal Credit claim and manage their claim until they receive their first payment.
The minister for employment, Guy Opperman MP, said: “Help to Claim continues to assist thousands of people every year with over 800,000 people already receiving support since its introduction. This additional investment will allow Citizens Advice to continue to provide this vital support following its extension for a further year. This high quality and independent support comes in addition to the support already provided through our network of Jobcentres, with our staff standing ready to assist those in need of support.”
Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “As the cost of living continues to put household finances under pressure, our top priority is supporting the many people coming to us for help. We’re glad to continue this important support. We’ve seen first-hand the difference our advisers make in helping people access Universal Credit. We’ll continue to use our frontline insights and unique data to suggest enhancements to the benefits system, further helping the people we support.”
People will be able to access the support and advice online or by telephone. For those who are unable to access support via these channels, people will be able to contact their local Jobcentre, where staff will help to identify the right support to meet their needs.
The DWP has stated that it: “…remains committed to providing the best possible support for all claimants, including the most vulnerable in society, in both making and maintaining their Universal Credit claim”.