Support for Vulnerable Claimants
The definition of a vulnerable claimant is ‘An individual who is identified as having complex needs and requires additional support to enable them to access Universal Credit Services’
- Support for financially vulnerable claimants. These are claimants who have debt such as rent arrears or other debt:
- Claimants may be referred to Finance Support i.e. Discretionary Support
- Claimants will be signposted to third sector provision for financial capability advice including budgeting support
- Support for non-digital claimants. These are claimants who have low digital skills or do not have digital access:
- Assisted digital via end to end telephony or face to face for claimants with limited IT literacy;
- Assisted access for claimants who do not have IT access;
- Home visits will be carried out, when required.
- Support for socially vulnerable claimants. These are claimants who have no ID, health conditions, drug/alcohol dependencies, cognitive impairment, complex housing or are homeless or care-levers;
- Specific tailoring due to claim complexity’
- Support could include Financial Capability advice including budgeting support and assistance with claim completion. Claimants may be referred to Financial Support i.e. Discretionary Support
Get more confidence online:
As the only way you can apply for Universal Credit is online, it is really important that you are familiar with the internet and how it works. You will need to manage your Universal Credit account online the way you would an online bank account, so it is also advisable to familiarise yourself with these kind of sites.
The Government is very keen that people are better off in work than out of it, so most people who claim Universal Credit will have to commit to some kind of work-related activity.
This will vary depending on someone’s circumstances, but will be agreed up front with a “work coach” at the Job Centre as part of something called the “claimant commitment”. If you do not comply with the terms of your claimant commitment then you may be “sanctioned”, which means your payment might be reduced or even stopped completely.
We know that it can often be difficult to find work so your Housing Officer at Radius will able to provide advice and support with this.
Radius Welfare Advice Service
Our Communities staff at Radius Housing are available in each of our offices, to help with queries around Universal Credit as well as other benefit issues. We can also offer a dedicated welfare support service with advice and assistance on a range of benefit changes, Universal Credit, budgeting and money management. We can signpost you to many other organisations who can offer a range of support and advice services.
Apply for help with rent: Discretionary Housing Payments
If you are facing hardship and need help with paying your rent, you may be eligible to apply for a short-term Discretionary Housing Payment and this can be applied for from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive here
Find out more about Discretionary Housing Payments on the Turn2Us website
Apply to local Credit Union for a Loan:
If you need help with personal budgeting, ask at your local Jobcentre and they will be able to tell you where face-to-face support is available.
If you’re waiting for your first benefit payment and have priority bills to pay or essential costs, help is available. Don’t be tempted to take out expensive credit like payday loans – they will only make your situation worse. Look into some of the other sources of help that are available instead, examples of which are set out below.
Apply to your local credit union for a loan:
If you find that you are going to have to borrow money, see if there’s a credit union in your area. They specialise in offering loans at low rates and helping members who need financial help. Some credit unions might lend money straightaway to new members without having to save with them first.
You will have to pay a higher interest charge than the rates offered to regular savers, but this rate is usually much lower than other high-cost credit, such as payday loans or doorstep loans. Approval for a loan will depend on what the credit union offers and your personal circumstances. The credit union will want to be sure you can afford to pay the loan back but they’ll work with you to make your repayments manageable.
Find out more in the money saving expert guide to Borrowing from a credit union & find you nearest credit union in Northern Ireland by using the Creditunionlocator
Click here to download a PDF from the Citizens Advice Bureau