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Supporting Universal Credit applicants   ()

Although Universal Credit will be handled by the Department for Work and Pensions, council officers will be on hand to offer general advice and assist people with setting up their own accounts and with online form filling. Benefit applicants will be able to use computer terminals in council reception areas.

 In addition an appointment can be made with a Client Support Officer who can advise on personal budgeting and help with online job searches and applications.  

Cllr Toby Morris, Cabinet Member responsible for Finance said: “I urge anyone worried about making a Universal Credit application online for the first time, to take advantage of the additional support we are offering. Once up and running, I am sure people will find that receiving a single monthly payment through Universal Credit is simpler. It is important that we offer a helping hand as Universal Credit is a major overhaul of the UK’s welfare system and the biggest change since the 1940s.”
The aim of Universal Credit is to help people to become more independent by finding employment and managing their personal finances. It is for working age people who are unemployed or on a low income and it will ensure that people are financially better off in work.
See www.westoxon.gov.uk/universalcredit  for further information, including how an appointment can be made with a Client Support Officer.
Additional notes to editors 
Existing claimants will continue to receive benefits under the previous system unless there is a significant change affecting their claim.  Additionally, new claimants with three or more children will not move to the new system.  The only other exemption is Council Tax support payments which will continue to require applications being made directly to West Oxfordshire District Council. 
Current benefits and credits that will be merged into a single payment are:
·         Jobseekers’ allowance
·         Employment and support allowance
·         Income support
·         Child tax credits
·         Working tax credits
·         Housing benefits