We have pulled together this dedicated section of the website so that all of the Universal Credit (UC) information that we have been emailing out to the UC Network is in one place. This includes various documents and info that you will hopefully find useful in these challenging times. We will contine to update this page as we get more information to share with you.
Joint update from Southwark's four main advice agencies
Citizens Advice Southwark, Southwark Law Centre, Migrant Legal Action and Cambridge House Law Centre have shared this joint update about their current services and support. The update includes current helplines, web services and more.
Coronavirus briefing information from Citizens Advice Southwark
- Coronavirus - what it means for you - This has information about scams, paying your bills (including rent), money problems as a result of Coronavirus, and claiming benefits
- Coronavirus - check what benefits you can get - This has information about the different benefits that may be available if you are affected by the Coronavirus situation.
- Coronavirus - if you can't pay your bills - This contains information about what people can do if they are struggling to pay things like rent, mortgage or energy bills because of Coronavirus
- Coronavirus - if your employer has told you not to work - The briefing document contains information about what people can do if their employer has told them not to work - the link to the relevant webpage is here:
- Coronavirus - topping up your pre-payment meter - This briefing document is for people who can't afford to top up their pre-payment meter.
- Coronavirus - problems getting to or topping up meter - This bfiefing document is for people who are having problems getting to, or topping up their prepayment meter.
These documents are taken from the Citizens Advice public information website and contain links to other helpful pages on the site.
Citizens Advice also offer support in community languages, for those who speak litle English.
If you need advice in community languages or on debt, please call 0344 499 4134.
If you need help claiming Universal Credit please call on 0800 144 8 444
For online referrals, please go to our website: https://www.citizensadvicesouthwark.org.uk/advice/email-enquiry-form/
For webchat please visit here: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/webchat
The government has recently announced the temporary suspension of some deductions from Universal Credit. Deductions for legacy benefit overpayments, Social Fund loans and Tax Credit debts will be paused for three months. Read more on this here.
Southwark Law Centre FAQs document
Southwark Law Centre, with 11KBW Barristers, have produced this FAQs document on employment issues during the coronavirus.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) update:
Face-to-face conditionality appoitments in jobcentres for three months
From Thursday 19 March, all face-to-face contact conditionality appointments with customers in job centres have been suspended for three months. This includes weekly and fortnightly work search reviews in UC and JSA and ESA (new style and legacy) and IS work-focused interviews. External communications have been issued, telling people not attend the job centre and to reassure them their payment will be unaffected.
A message has been added to all UC customers’ accounts confirming that face-to-face appointments will be rearranged. Where possible, customer contact and support is being provided digitally or by telephone, especially where customers are known to be vulnerable. If customers need to contact the DWP, they should do so by telephone or online, but the jobcentre network will remain open for customers who are not ill with coronavirus or self-isolating.
Guidance for domestic abuse survivors to be safe
Finally, you will have heard that domestic abuse is increasing due to the lockdown, and amongst other things, many Latin American women find it very difficult to access help and support due to the language barrier.
For this reason the Latin American Women's Rights Service has developed this guide in Spanish and Portuguese with guidance for survivors to be safe and for friends and families to support women in need.
The UC Network
You can find out all about the UC Network here and how to join. We are holding an online Southwark Universal Credit Network - COVID-19 Special Q&A on the 28 April 2020.