Citizens Advice call for Universal Credit fix

by | 12 September 2017 | Citizens Advice, Sherwood

Citizens Advice Sherwood and Newark is calling for the Government to fix Universal Credit before it fully rolls out in Newark and Sherwood. It is warning that Universal Credit is putting people’s financial security at risk as they wait six weeks or more for their first payment.

Many people have already turned to Citizens Advice Sherwood and Newark for help with ‘live service’ Universal Credit, a temporary version of the benefit available to people in the area with straightforward claims.

The charity says the numbers struggling will grow rapidly from February 2018 with full service rollout, meaning anyone who would previously have claimed one of the old benefits — such as tax credits or housing benefit — has to apply for Universal Credit.By 2022 Universal Credit will affect 11,500 households across Sherwood constituency area and 9,500 households across Newark constituency area.

In a major new report — Delivering on Universal Credit — national Citizens Advice has identified a wide range of administrative challenges, including problems with the online system and long waits to get help over the phone, which can make the initial six week wait even longer.

The rollout of Universal Credit is set to speed up significantly in October this year. Citizens Advice Sherwood and Newark is calling on the government to pause this acceleration and use the time to fix key problems with Universal Credit, before thousands more people are brought into the system.

Lesley Barrick, Advice Service Manager, Citizens Advice Sherwood and Newark said: “The principles behind Universal Credit are sound, but a mix of flaws in how the benefit was designed and problems with how it is being delivered is leaving many people’s finances in tatters.

“If the government doesn’t fix significant problems with Universal Credit then many families across Newark and Sherwood may be put at financial risk, which can in turn put huge pressure on other local services such as health, housing and social care.”

Citizens Advice Sherwood and Newark
5 Forest Court,
New Ollerton NG22 9PL
Drop-in sessions:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
9.30am to 2.30pm
Adviceline: 0844 411 1444
www.adviceguide.org.uk