A NEW service offering vital advice to Universal Credit claimants has been launched in Barrow.

With just over a week to go before it goes to full service in Barrow, Citizens Advice has received funding to the new Help to Claim service that will help people complete their claim and get paid on time.

Christine McKinlay, chief officer of Barrow Citizens Advice, said: “We already know people can struggle with the online Universal Credit application process. A recent survey by the charity found more than a third of people Citizens Advice has helped nationally struggled to provide the evidence needed to complete their claim.

“This includes providing evidence for health conditions, housing and childcare. Universal Credit is the biggest ever change to benefit system, so it’s important people get support while they get used to the new system and possible change in income.”

Universal Credit, which is set to be rolled out on December 5, replaces six benefits; Income Support, Income based Jobseekers Allowance, Income based Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits into a single monthly payment.

Anyone of working age who needs to make a new claim for any of these benefits will have to claim Universal Credit instead. Working age claimants who are already getting these benefits will stay on them until their claim ends, have a change in circumstances or are transferred onto Universal Credit by DWP. Existing Universal Credit claimants will have to make a new claim.

Ms McKinlay added: “We can help people at every stage of the application process - from guiding someone through the online application form, or offering budgeting advice to help them best manage their monthly payment. With Christmas fast approaching, we urge anyone with a question or concern to get in touch. Our advisors are here to offer impartial advice to anyone who may need help.”

Phone 03444 88 96 24, visit www.barrowcitizensadvice.org.uk or at a drop in session at Ramsden Hall, Abbey Road.