Residents looking for help and advice on Universal Credit (UC) can get the support they need from Renfrewshire Council.
Council staff have been preparing for when UC went live today and have made sure support is in place for residents.
Advice Works staff can offer residents advice on their benefits and changes in circumstances that might mean they need to claim UC.
The Council’s customer services team can also direct residents to where they can get digital support to make or maintain their claim, but residents are also advised to get in touch with their work coach at their nearest Jobcentre Plus.
UC will replace six key benefits and tax credits with a single monthly payment. Universal Credit is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and aims to make the welfare system for working-age customers simpler.
UC will replace the following benefits and tax credits:
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income Based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
People who already receive any of the six benefits and tax credits listed above, will continue to do so unless they have a change in their circumstances which would cause their benefits to be re-assessed. In that case, a new claim for UC would be required.
Council Leader Iain Nicolson met with Kevin Campbell, an advisor in the Advice Works team, and Maggie Smith, a Renfrewshire Libraries digital volunteer – known as a Digiteer – at Johnstone library.
He said: “It’s important residents know where they can get support. Residents should speak to their work coach at their local Jobcentre Plus, but they can also speak to us if they need advice about their benefits or support to make their claim in the first place.
“Universal Credit is the biggest change yet to the welfare system. Not only do residents need to make their claim online, they also need to check for tasks set by their work coach and update their journal online.
“It’s a major change to how people access benefits, but residents should know they can still pop into their local Jobcentre Plus should they need support.”
Adviser Kevin Campbell said: “Many people will be unsure what the implementation of Universal Credit will mean for them. If anyone is adversely affected by Universal Credit and need advice, they should call Advice Works who will be able to support them.
“Our advisers have been through Universal Credit training and can offer residents the advice they need to decide what they should do for their own situation.”
Residents can also learn the basics of getting online ahead of needing to make a claim for Universal Credit.
Digiteer Maggie McAlistair said: “Renfrewshire libraries are a great place to build your digital skills. Residents can book an appointment with a Digiteer by calling 0300 300 1188 or can simply book a computer at one of the libraries.”
Residents can also drop into their local Jobcentre Plus if they need to access a computer.
Computers will also be available at Renfrewshire House and 5 High Street in Paisley as well as Johnstone Town Hall.
Need help or advice – residents can contact:
- Advice Works on 0300 300 1238
- Renfrewshire Council Customer Services Centre on 0300 300 1124
- Advice Renfrewshire on 0800 164 2922
- Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau on 0141 889 2121.