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Citizens Advice pilots project in Diss to support Universal Credit claimants

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A project aimed at supporting Universal Credit claimants is being piloted in Diss.

The full programme of support will be rolled out nationally in April.
The full programme of support will be rolled out nationally in April.

Universal Credit is the Government’s welfare policy that replaces six forms of credit with one monthly payment.

An online benefit system, it means claimants need an email address to register and regular online access in order keep their work journal up to date. Failure to do this can result in sanctions, or cuts in the benefit.

Citizens Advice Diss, Thetford and District will offer tailored budgeting support to claimants as part of the pilot.

The advice service is one of 14 local offices in the country – and the only one in East Anglia – to be awarded funding for a pilot project supporting claimants.

“We are delighted to be the only local office in the county awarded this funding as support is desperately needed, particularly for those without computer skills or access, living in rural communities,” said Dr Melanie Jones, chief executive of Citizens Advice Diss, Thetford and District.

“We’ve already helped more than 140 Universal Credit claimants get the money they are entitled to since we moved to full service at the beginning of this year.

The pilot project will run between January and April and will offer support to new and existing Universal Credit claimants.

“Claimants have to wait five weeks before receiving their first payment and the sad fact is that this can put people into debt as they struggle to pay rent and bills,” said Dr Jones.

The full programme of support will be rolled out nationally in April and will be funded by the Department of Work and Pensions.

It will help provide new computer equipment, which will enable fully-trained advisers to help support claimants in making their claim online.

The service will be offered face-to-face, via webchat, email and over the phone.

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