06 March 2019
From 1 April CARBS participates in the national Citizens Advice project known as Universal Support ‘Help to Claim’ which helps people make their first claim for Universal Credit (UC). To be ready for the launch we are appointing new colleagues who will be employed on a 1-year contract.
The new staff will be working on a seamless ‘web-chat’, telephone and face-to-face basis. In each of our offices we will have public access computers clients can use to make their claims. Citizens Advice is supplying us with marketing materials you will shortly see in various locations in the borough.
The project, which is funded for 1 year, has been set up with strict parameters:
1) to check whether people are eligible for UC
2) to enable them to obtain an email address (essential for UC)
3) to digitally upload their identity documents and set up their UC online journal which will be populated with ‘to do’ items, and
4) to help them to complete these requirements for their claim to be processed.
The help and support we give will vary according to the needs and abilities of the people who come to us.
Some may have limited IT skills or be unable to use a computer at all; they will need a lot of help. For example, someone who had recently suffered a stroke, lost much of his vision and become physically unable to operate a mouse needed 1-to-1 support to make a claim. For some with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, software such as ‘Dragon’ may enable them to make their own claim with little extra help. Others, for example those with a learning disability, may need more help with parts of the claim process.
Citizens Advice at the centre will give us time slots each week when we will contribute our ‘share’ of the web chat and telephone service. There will be a single nationally advertised telephone number to be released on 1 April. We will make every effort to resolve the query by phone, but if the client needs face-to-face help s/he will join the queue for follow-up at the of the relevant local Citizens Advice.
The project does not include ongoing help after the first claim. We will of course provide this as part of our normal drop-in and appointments service.
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