‘We’re here to help’

East Devon District Council is urging working age residents who are struggling to cope with the recent changes to Universal Credit to seek help and get in contact with its benefits team.

Over the last few months, the team has been advising and supporting over 70 working age residents to make their Universal Credit claim, working alongside Honiton Jobcentre Plus staff with the roll out of the new benefit.

In many cases, team members have gone the extra mile to help those who come forward. In one example, they helped a young man who had recently moved to Honiton into temporary accommodation. He had a small child and was distressed because he was having difficulties claiming benefits. An officer sat with him and helped him with his claim where, he discovered, he had more benefits available to him than he thought. Officers also contacted his support worker who will now help him with future claims.

In another case, a young claimant attended the Honiton office to make a claim online too late in the day to get payments sorted. Although she left with details of the foodbank nearby and an appointment as early as could be arranged, she was very distressed and in tears. Immediately the following morning the officer who helped the claimant organised help for her.

Cllr Dean Barrow, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for finance, said:

Our message is clear - please get in touch with us and we can help you. Many of our customers applying for Universal Credit are finding that our help is invaluable and the council genuinely wants to support our residents affected by this change and help them receive the benefit that they need.

If anyone is experiencing any problems with claiming Universal Credit or have any concerns about it, please get in touch with the district council’s Benefits Team.

If you are making a claim for Universal Credit don’t delay in making your claim and getting information to support your claim sent to the Jobcentre. If you need any help to make your claim or you are struggling with this, please get in touch with the district council’s benefits team by email benefits@eastdevon.gov.uk or by phone 01395 571770 or contact Jobcentre Plus on 0800 328 5644.