Universal Credit comes to South Ayrshire

 19 February 2018  |  

The Council is helping to raise awareness of Universal Credit as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rolls it out across South Ayrshire.

Universal Credit applies to new claimants of working age and replaces the following benefits and tax credits:

Child Tax Credits
Housing Benefit
Income Support
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) /
Working Tax Credit.

Anyone that's currently on these benefits will generally not be affected until their circumstances change or they are contacted by the DWP.

New Universal Credit claims must be made online directly to the DWP at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit  and anyone with any enquires about Universal Credit can phone the DWP on 0800 328 9344.

The Council has been working with partners to provide online access for new claimants that don't have access to a computer. There is also help to fill in the online forms. You can find out what support is available near you by visiting www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/universal-credit and then looking at the 'Digital Access and support directory' or phone the Council on 0300 123 0900.

Frontline staff are ready to provide support as required and to signpost claimants in the right direction to ensure customers get access to benefit services.

 The DWP estimates it could take around 5 to 6 weeks for a new Universal Credit claim to be assessed and the first payment to arrive. Claimants can contact the DWP for an advance but the Council recognise people may need money advice and help with budgeting. More information is available at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/information-and-advice-hub/ or phone the Council on 0300 123 0900.

Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: "We have been working with our partners to highlight the DWP's changes to the benefits system for new claimants and we will continue to support people to ensure they get the benefits they are entitled to.

"The Scottish Government has introduced a bit more flexibility to the Universal Credit system which allows rent to be paid direct to landlords and there is also an option to receive two payments over the course of the month, rather than just one, which could help with budgeting.

 "The amount of time people have to wait until they receive their initial payment from the DWP could put a lot of pressure on claimants but money advice and support is available from the Council and our partners."