On April 1, Citizens Advice Northumberland launched a new service called Help To Claim for those who need help to apply for Universal Credit in Northumberland.
People will now be able to get support from the advice charity as they submit their Universal Credit applications to get their first full payment.
Help will be tailored to suit the individual concerned.
It is available face-to-face, over the phone by calling 0800 144 8444, and online through webchat and advice content by visiting www.citizensadvice.org.uk/helptoclaim
This may include assistance with the online application form, or help with providing evidence such as childcare costs.
A recent survey conducted by the charity found that more than a third of people whom Citizens Advice has helped had struggled to provide the evidence they needed to complete their Universal Credit claim.
The charity has already helped nearly 700 people locally with problems relating to Universal Credit.
Nationally, Citizens Advice has helped more than 230,000 people with Universal Credit.
The Help To Claim service will be delivered through the Citizens Advice network across England and Wales.
For those residents North of the border, Citizens Advice Scotland will also be delivering the new service in Scotland.
Universal Credit is a new benefit that combines six benefits into one, including Jobseekers Allowance and Working Tax Credits.
It has now been fully rolled out across the UK. When fully implemented, around seven million people in England and Wales will be receiving Universal Credit.
Abi Conway, chief officer of Citizens Advice Northumberland, has spoken of the benefits of the Help To Claim service and the support it can provide for claimants.
She said: “We’re launching a new service specifically for those who need help applying for Universal Credit.
“We offer free, independent, impartial and confidential advice to people in the community every day, and we have developed an expertise in dealing with Universal Credit.
“We have seen first-hand what can happen when people struggle to make a claim and their payments are delayed.
“We would encourage anyone who needs help with their application to get in touch with us, either in person or over the phone, or they can contact us over webchat at www.citizensadvice.org.uk”
For further information about the opening times of Citizens Advice offices in Northumberland, see the website at https://www.citizensadvicenorthumberland.org.uk/get-help/
People are welcome to join Citizens Advice Northumberland as a volunteer and help other people across our communities.
We provide help for people covering a range of topics, including Universal Credit, from a variety of locations.
We also help people in a variety of ways, whatever best suits their needs, be it face-to-face contact, telephone advice, email correspondence or webchat.
To find out about our full range of volunteering opportunities, go to the website at https://www.citizensadvicenorthumberland.org.uk/get-involved/
Alternatively, people can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizens Advice Northumberland is a registered charity, which helps people to resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing information and advice and by campaigning for change.
Staff are supported by more than 22,000 trained volunteers, working at more than 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.
We helped 2.6 million people face-to-face, over the phone, by email and webchat in 2017-18. And we had 25 million visits to our website.