Glenrothes and Central Fife MP, Peter Grant is urging Universal Credit applicants to seek help when applying for the new benefit. Mr Grant recently visited Citizens Advice & Rights Fife (CARF) in Glenrothes to discuss their new service, Help to Claim.
The Help to Claim service offers independent, tailored and practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim and receive their first full payment on time. It is available through a free phone line, website and local Citizens Advice Bureaux.
Commenting after his visit, Peter Grant MP said: “Claiming benefit can be a difficult and even intimidating experience for many people. Help to Claim can provide people with advice on how to apply for Universal Credit and support them through the application process. The support provided can include things such as helping someone gather evidence of their housing or childcare costs; ensuring people know that Alternative Payment Arrangements are available; and offering advice on what to expect at a jobcentre appointment and how to prepare for it.
“Universal Credit can be a complex system to get your head around at first, and from experience of helping constituents with it, it’s not very user friendly. I would urge anyone who requires assistance to get in touch with the service.”
Citizens Advice Bureaux in Scotland have given over 100,000 pieces of advice on Universal Credit since the roll out began, and many of these issues are with the initial claiming process.
They have been working closely with Jobcentres, local authorities and other local organisations in preparation for providing the service. Support is available through the free phone line and web chat from 8am - 6pm Monday to Friday:
Phone line: 0800 023 2581
Face to face meetings with Help to Claim staff can also be arranged by contacting local CARF offices.