'Simplify Claiming' - Universal Credit

(Courtesy of The Bognor Regis Post)

A CALL has been made for a new benefit for Bognor Regis area residents to be simplified.

Luca Badioli, the chief executive of Citizens Advice Arun & Chichester, said universal credit was proving too difficult for some people to claim.

Research by the help-point’s national organisation showed 48 per cent of claimants found it difficult to provide evidence for health condition and 40 per cent for housing.

Overall, a third of the people who were helped by the charity struggled to provide the evidence needed to finish their application.

“Making an application for universal credit can be complex, and there are many different stages to get through before crossing the finishing line.

“This new research shows the providing the right paperwork for extra costs is one of the stages which causes the most headaches for people.

“The government should look at making it easier to provide evidence online and people should also be aware of what’s required of them so they receive their payment on time.”

The first two weeks after universal credit began in the Bognor Regis and Chichester areas had seen 48 people with an enquiry about it helped by Citizens Advice in the two areas.

Its helpers advise claimants should provide evidence as soon as possible, make sure all ten stages of a claim – some of which have a deadline – are completed to avoid having to start again and ask for help if a problem arises.