Citizens Advice in Southwark is launching a new support service to help people with their move onto Universal Credit.
The charity says its advisors based in Bermondsey and Peckham will now give on-one-one support to people submitting their applications up until receiving their first payment.
Chris Green, Citizens Advice Southwark’s chief officer, said: “We offer free, independent, impartial and confidential advice to people in the community every day and have developed an expertise in dealing with Universal Credit.
“We’ve seen first-hand what can happen when people struggle to make a claim and their payments are delayed.”
More than 23,000 people across the country have contacted the charity asking for support moving onto the new system, which combines six benefits into one payment.
As the News has reported, the move onto Universal Credit, first trialled in Southwark, has led to the number of people reliant on foodbanks surging across the borough, and a growing number falling behind on rent.
A report by Southwark Council showed people who moved onto Universal Credit in 2016 saw their arrears increase by an average of £586.
And rent arrears for tenants on Universal Credit are more than three times higher than for those still claiming housing benefit.
For help and support with your application, call Citizens Advice Southwark on 0800 144 8 444 or visit www.citizensadvicesouthwark.org.uk/helptoclaim