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Webinar: How Citizens Advice is helping Universal Credit claimants


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Deven Ghelani, Policy in Practice, was joined by Kayley Hignell, Citizens Advice and Nicky Rees, Citizens Advice Peterborough, to discuss Universal Credit. View the slides from this webinar recording.

As Universal Credit receives a refresh, courtesy of new Secretary of State Amber Rudd, we asked what the recent changes mean for people affected, and how the Citizens Advice Service nationwide is responding.

We also looked at what some LCAs are doing to support people and were joined by Kayley Hignell, Head of Policy (Families, Welfare and Work), Citizens Advice, and Nicky Rees, Advice Operations Supervisor at Citizens Advice Peterborough.

In this webinar we covered:

- What the recent policy changes and new Secretary of State mean for Universal Credit
- How Citizens Advice approach to Universal Credit is changing
- How Citizens Advice Peterborough helps people to maximise income and budget well
- Brief introduction to software used by some Local Citizens Advice advisors to give accurate and easy to digest advice

"The Benefit and Budgeting Calculator is amazing, the frontline volunteers find it really useful. I especially like the calendar that shows claimants who get paid weekly how their monthly Universal Credit payments will be affected over the next 12 months."
Nicky Rees, Citizens Advice Peterborough

For more information on Policy in Practice please visit, email or call 0330 088 9242

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Webinar: How Citizens Advice is helping Universal Credit claimants

  1. 1. Policy in Practice Webinar: How Citizens Advice is helping Universal Credit claimants Monday 4 February 2018
  2. 2. Housekeeping • Audio check • Please ask questions • Polls and a survey • Aim to finish by 11:30
  3. 3. A team of professionals with extensive knowledge of the welfare system who are passionate about making social policy work We help local authorities use their household level data to identify vulnerable households, target support and track their interventions We develop engaging software that helps people to increase their income, reduce their costs and helps them to build their financial resilience
  4. 4. Today’s speakers Deven Ghelani Founder Policy in Practice Kayley Hignell Head of Policy for Family, Welfare and Work Citizens Advice Nicky Rees Advice Operations Supervisor Peterborough Citizens Advice The Briefing Room: Universal Credit: What’s gone wrong and can it be fixed? BBC R4, Thurs 10 Jan 2019
  5. 5. Agenda • The impact of Universal Credit • The impact of recent policy changes • The outlook with a new Secretary of State • Citizens Advice’s approach to Universal Credit: • What we're currently doing • What the format will be with the new funding • What we're doing to advocate for change • Case study: Citizens Advice Peterborough • The challenges advisors are facing on the ground • Software and advice that can help • Questions & answers with our speakers
  6. 6. 666 Poll: What is your biggest concern about Universal Credit rollout?
  7. 7. Over to Deven
  8. 8. Our analysis of Budget 2018 • £1.7 billion boost to benefit support, benefiting 2.5 million households (1.9m with children & 600k with limited capability for work) • £1.0 billion to help 1.1m people migrating onto Universal Credit (one-third of those left to migrate) • These will benefit Employed households gain • Self-employed, disabled, ill or out of work don't gain • Download our report
  9. 9. Budget 2018: Universal Credit changes • UC work allowances: increase by £1,000 per year (from April 2019) • Two week run-on for those on existing DWP benefits (JSA, ESA, IS) in addition to those receiving housing benefit (from July 2020) • Self employed: Protection extended to all; assessed on actual income (not MIF) for 12 months (from July 2019) • Deductions from UC: Max rate down from 40% to 30% (from Oct 2019) • Delay in increasing the earnings limit that triggers surplus earnings (remains the same until 2020) • Period for recovery of advances extended from 12 to 16 months (from Oct 2021) • Slower roll-out of Universal Credit (end now Dec 2023) • Plus increase in minimum wage & changes in tax allowances (from April 2019)
  10. 10. Uneven impact across different households Overall, working households will see some benefit from Budget 2018 • Employed households are the big winners Employed households gain £18.41/week from the budget They will on average be £9.13/week better off compared to under legacy benefits. • Self-employed households will still lose slightly They will be a further £2.42/week worse off as a result of the Budget They will be £50.86/week worse off compared to legacy benefits Disabled and ill households are not supported by the budget • Income levels similar to their income pre-budget • They will be £28.76/week worse off compared to legacy benefits Households with children will be better off after the budget • They will be £10.56/week better off as a result of the budget • They will be reduced by £8.41/week compared to legacy benefits
  11. 11. Managed migration was scaled back for 2019, although DWP will still have their hands full with around 1.6m people will still move onto Universal Credit this year through natural migration. The two-child limit to benefits would not apply to children born before April 2017. Flexible payments, including direct payments to landlords, split payments, and the payment of Universal Credit going to the main carer by default. The Secretary of State is also looking at options to reduce the five-week wait for new claimants, and accelerate childcare payments to providers. The High Court found in favour of four working mothers who challenged how the DWP took account of monthly earnings. Secretary of State – New Direction?
  12. 12. Over to Kayley
  13. 13. Universal Credit
  14. 14. Citizens Advice: who we are A network of 280 local independent charities In 2588 locations across England and Wales
  15. 15. Citizens Advice: our aims Provide advice for the problems people face Improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives
  16. 16. Citizens Advice: what we do 2.6 million people helped in 2017/18 25 million visits to our online advice pages
  17. 17. Citizens Advice: our data
  18. 18. Citizens Advice: our data
  19. 19. ● Monitor the impact of UC and push behind the scenes for change ● Publish policy research and campaign for change when it will have impact ● Helping people with the problems through our service including the new Universal Support: Help to Claim service Citizens Advice: our approach
  20. 20. Citizens Advice intelligence: Universal Credit Citizens Advice is a charity providing free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. This advice is delivered in communities across England and Wales. Over the last three years welfare benefit related issues have taken over debt as the largest area of advice, now accounting for one third of the support delivered by local Citizens Advice. With a local Citizens Advice in every community, we are able to draw insight into any difficulties claimants are having with Universal Credit (UC) and highlight good practice at national, regional and local level. The roll out of welfare reform closely maps the issues seen by Citizens Advice and new or changed benefits have a direct impact on the demand for the Citizens Advice service. Sep - Nov 2018
  21. 21. Citizens Advice: policy and campaigns
  22. 22. Help to Claim
  23. 23. What’s next?
  24. 24. Thank you
  25. 25. 252525 Poll: What is the most common type of enquiry you deal with?
  26. 26. Over to Nicky
  27. 27. How Peterborough is working with JCP February 2019
  28. 28. The Local Picture • Peterborough is a Unitary Authority • Population est 196,640 mid 2015 • One Local Job Centre In a recent two month period: • 104 clients attended their PBS/ADS appointment • 5 returning clients
  29. 29. Our Work – Overview We have been delivering Personal Budgeting Support/Assisted Digital Support for nearly 3 years Peterborough became a full Universal Credit area in November 2017 We worked with JCP and RSLs to create a Vulnerable Client Hub
  30. 30. Our Work – At JCP  We have an Adviser permanently working out of our local JCP  JCP control the calendar for this Adviser  Anyone claiming Universal Credit, that talks to their Work Coach about any of our enquiry areas is booked in for advice
  31. 31. Our Clients – at JCP
  32. 32. Our Clients – Common Enquiries 336 72 14 9 9 Benefits Debt Employment Housing Relationship Most problems are cross cutting and inter-related
  33. 33. Our Work – experience of Universal Credit The issues we are dealing with are getting more complicated, so appointments take longer
  34. 34. Our Work – Case Study: Joe Joe is a 35 year old male who has just recently claimed Universal Credit and is in his first assessment period. He was referred to Citizens Advice for PBS and ADS because of outstanding debts and a need for digital support. During the PBS/ADS appointment Joe discloses that he: ●is currently unemployed and is looking for work ●lives on his own in a one bedroom Cross Keys flat ●has arrears for his rent, council tax, gas and electric, water bill and pay day loan ●has been send letters by a bailiff regarding his council tax ●admits to being an alcoholic but has not opened up to anyone else about this issue as he is scared and won’t be taken seriously ●can access the internet at home on his phone but has no idea of how to use the Universal Credit website
  35. 35. Our Work – Case Study: Outcomes During the PBS/ADS interview, Joe was advised on the following: ●UC was explained to Joe and he was given digital support ●Joe was advised about the advance payments and APA’s ●he was given an estimate of what his first UC payment would be to assist him budget ●Joe was given advice on UC and budgeting tips ●Joe was referred for help with his addiction, and help with CV writing and interview skills ●Regarding Joe’s debts, initially he was made aware of grants & schemes available to him, eg the Anglian Water assistance scheme ●given information on his rights regarding bailiff action and advised on his options when bailiffs come to his door ●referred to the Money Advice team at Citizens Advice to assist him in managing debts and negotiating with creditors
  36. 36. Our Work – Policy in Practice Universal Credit calendar Expert breakdowns Ability to upload information to a journal Built in warning info/tool tips which help advisors explore options A willingness to listen and continue to develop the tool in response to feedback
  37. 37. Thank you
  38. 38. Questions and answers
  39. 39. Next steps Download Autumn Budget 2018 white paper Download Universal Credit Roadmap Download Benefit and Budgeting Calculator flyer Follow up email with this recording and slides, with links Short 5 question survey now: • We value your feedback • Ask questions or clarifications • Request a more in depth look at Benefit and Budgeting Calculator
  40. 40. Thank you Deven Ghelani Kayley Hignell Citizens Advice Nicky Rees Peterborough Citizens Advice office 0330 088 9242