I am pleased to say that we will receive funding for Year 2 of the Help to Claim project to support new applicants in the early stages of their universal credit claim.
The Help to Claim project is a national partnership between Citizens Advice and the Department for Work and Pensions. Locally, it is delivered by Job Centre Plus (Kingston) and Citizens Advice Kingston.
During the first year, starting in April 2019 the project has helped 623 people with their Universal Credit applications locally. Most of these (63%) were supported via the telephone helpline, but support is also available through web chat, online self help resources and in person. Universal Credit is a complex area of advice and information and requires a high level of knowledge and experience in benefits, housing and debt casework, in order to operate successfully. Funding for a second year is welcomed as the service is clearly meeting a real need in the community. A survey of local users, undertaken by colleagues at Kingston University, shows that more than 85% of our clients would recommend the Help to Claim service to their friends and relatives.
Funding for a second year will enable us to further develop the advice and information that the service is providing to applicants. During year two we will be able to fine tune how the service is accessed and delivered, with a particular focus on follow up and contact protocols where applicants have cancelled appointments, to ensure they receive all the information required to complete an application for Universal Credit.
See the full report on the first year of the Help To Claim project in Kingston HERE.