Following the outcry over charges for calling the Universal Credit customer information numbers, the Government’s promised Freephone numbers have now been introduced.

Initially, Freephone numbers have been introduced for Universal Credit service lines.  Numbers relating to other benefits will be introduced over the next few months.

Service Line Current 0345 number New Freephone number
UC Live Service 0345 600 0723 0800 328 9344
UC Full Service 0345 600 4272 0800 328 5644
UC Housing Line 0345 266 0041 0800 328 3844
UC Sanctions Line 0345 600 3081 0800 328 9744
UC Live to Full Service Transfers 0345 606 9970 0800 328 7844
UC/WA Welsh Line 0345 600 3018 0800 328 1744
UC Text phone 0345 600 0743 0800 328 1344
Performance Measurement 0345 266 1232 0800 328 2144
Payment Services – Creditors/landlords 0345 600 2859 0800 328 0128
Payment Services – Customer contact 0345 600 2865 0800 328 0172

 

Additionally, changes have been announced in the Budget relating to Universal Credit. 

These mean that:

  • From January 2018, households that qualify for Universal Credit will be able to access one month’s worth of support within five days, via an interest free advance that can be repaid over 12 months.
  • It easier for claimants in the private rented sector to continue having their housing costs paid directly to landlords once they are on Universal Credit.
  • From February 2018, claimants will also be eligible for Universal Credit from the day they apply, rather than after seven days.
  • From April 2018, Housing Benefit will continue to be paid for two weeks after a Universal Credit claim is made.

Cornwall Council has reiterated the help that is available to Universal Credit claimants, as the new scheme is rolled out in Cornwall between December 2017 and June 2018:

Free Money Management courses – contact Cornwall Council on 0300 1234 121, option 5, and ask to talk to someone about personal budget support.

Council Tax Support – Universal Credit doesn’t include help to pay council tax.  Claimants must make a separate claim for Council Tax Support direct to Cornwall Council.

Discretionary housing paymentsDiscretionary housing payments are for claimants who are receiving Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit and need more help with their housing costs.  Discretionary housing payments can pay some, or all, of the shortfall between the amount of rent and the level of benefit a claimant is already receiving.

Getting online – Cornwall Council is working with Jobcentres in Cornwall to provide support for people who need extra help to make and maintain their claim online.  Claimants can talk to a work coach at their local Jobcentre or ring Cornwall Council on 0300 1234 121, option 5, and ask to talk to someone about IT support for their Universal Credit claim.

Winter Wellbeing programme – Cornwall Council is one of more than 30 partners working together across Cornwall to provide help, support and advice for people struggling to heat their homes over the winter.  Help is available to switch tariffs, find out about grants for heating improvements, and access emergency funds for people who need help to heat their homes.  There is also help for vulnerable people to use their heating systems.  Anyone can get in touch by calling free on 0800 9541956.