Citizens Advice Fareham
The Charity for Your Community

Universal Credit
 
Citizens Advice Fareham offers support as Universal Credit starts in Fareham.

Citizens Advice Fareham is encouraging people to turn to them for help if they have questions about Universal Credit, as the new benefit is rolled out in Fareham.

In the latest stage of the national rollout of Universal Credit, from March 2016 new single claimants in areas including Fareham will be able to apply for the benefit.

To mark the arrival of the new benefit, Citizens Advice Fareham is sharing its top five facts you need to know about Universal Credit:

1.Universal Credit is a new benefit for people in and out of work, which will eventually merge six benefits into one: Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. Currently you can still apply for ESA separately from Universal Credit.
2.Universal Credit does not include Council Tax Support- you will still need to apply for this locally.
3.You apply for Universal Credit via a single application. You’re usually expected to do this online, but you can apply over the phone or in person if you need to. 
4.Universal Credit payments are made on a monthly basis, rather than weekly or fortnightly like previous benefit.
5.You can ask for an advance payment of Universal Credit to help you get by while you're waiting for your first payment. This is called a ‘short term advance’.

In the last 12 months local Citizens Advice across England and Wales has helped people with over 150 Universal Credit issues every week. The most common queries have been about eligibility and how to start a Universal Credit claim.

Universal Credit rolls six working-age benefits into one single monthly payment, supporting people who are on a low income or out of work. It is being introduced in stages across the country, in the first instance to single people who are making new claims. It will eventually be rolled out to couples, families and people who are sick or disabled.

Benefits is the most common type of enquiry people turn to Citizens Advice for help with and Citizens Advice Fareham helped people with 1825 benefit queries in the last year.

Anita Muff, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Fareham and Citizens Advice Gosport said:

“Many people will need help getting to grips with Universal Credit.

Previous research by Citizens Advice shows that nine in ten of our clients need assistance to deal with things like monthly payments and budgeting.

Simplifying welfare and making every hour of work pay are good principles. People in Fareham need the right and support in order to apply for Universal Credit and to adapt to managing their money on the new benefit. The Jobcentre has an important role to play in making sure people know help is available and signposting them towards the support they need.”

For more information please visit us at:

Citizens Advice Fareham
1st Floor, County Library Building
Osborn Road
Fareham
PO16 7EN

We are open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm and 5pm-6:30pm on a Thursday Evening.

There is also a lot of information on Universal Credit on the Citizens Advice website:
<https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit/>