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‘Help to Claim’ Universal Credit support extended

Written by: Emma Lunn
A support scheme for people who need help to claim Government benefits has been extended with a £22m investment.

The support, now in its fifth year, is delivered by Citizens Advice and provides support to guide people through the Universal Credit claim process. Citizens Advice has provided the Help to Claim support since its inception in 2019.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said the additional investment 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.

According to data released as part of the Spring Budget, there are currently 5.9 million Universal Credit claimants.

Guy Opperman MP, minister for employment, 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.”

How to get Help to Claim Support

Citizens Advice Help to Claim advisers can help benefits claimants with the early stages of a Universal Credit claim. You can talk to them on the phone, or online over live chat.

Advisers can help you work out if you can get Universal Credit and to fill in the Universal Credit application. They can also prepare for your first Jobcentre appointment and check your first payment is correct.

In the budget last week, the government announced that it was providing additional support to help Universal Credit claimants find employment or increase their hours, by increasing Work Coach support and work search requirements, and strengthening support for claimants that are carers of children by providing childcare payments upfront.

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