There are a number of advice agencies (listed below) operating in Southwark who can provide support and guidance to people who experiencing issues relating to their Universal Credit claim (and other benefit-related issues).
Please contact them if you have any enquiries about Universal Credit. If the issue is urgent and you would like a personal introduction then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The best place for organisations to go to find out more about the services that Citizens Advice offer is their website: www.citizensadviceSouthwark.org.uk.
Here you can find out more about their digital support sessions - which help people to get online and manage their claims, and wider advice services.
If you want to speak to them directly you can contact their helpline on: 0344 499 4134.
They offer a drop-in service for residents seeking advice:
- 10am – 1pm. Mon, Wed, Fri at their Peckham office
- 10am – 1pm. Tues and Thurs at their Bermondsey office
The also run an advice roadshow which tours the borough.
Advising Communities’ provide various types of support to residents across four London boroughs: Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham and Wandsworth – including their Universal Credit Advice and Support Service which you can read about here.
This operates out of three job centres and helps with:
- digital skills, so that individuals can make claims and manage their accounts independently
- general advice and help with identifying extra support
- financial management
Advising Communities also run a drop in service for people who live and work in Southwark and residents can also book appointments.
For more information about their services please visit their website here.
SLC provides specialist legal advice and, when focusing on welfare reform, it specialises in appeals to the First Tier Tribunal (Social Security and Asylum Support), Upper Tribunal, and Judicial Review cases. You can read more here.
In addition to specialist legal advice, the Law Centre can also offer provide advice to people with rent arrears.
It is worth noting that they don’t provide a drop-in centre – they take referrals from other agencies.
If you wish to make a referral please call them to discuss the case on 0207 732 2008
Southwark council has a Local Support Team who can offer residents help with:
- improving budgeting skills
- improving digital and computer skills
- accessing benefits or financial help they might be entitled to
- paperwork and filling out forms
- welfare benefit form completion
- extra help through the Council's Southwark Emergency Support Scheme if they are facing an urgent crisis, emergency or disaster
- paying your council tax bills, if they are struggling due to illness or disability
- problems claiming Universal Credit.
If you are helping someone who is vulnerable, or are experiencing financial difficulties, please direct them to complete the online referral form on the council's website which you can access here.
Alternatively the team can be reached by email and telephone:
Telephone: 020 7525 2434
CPAG offer a telephone advice service for organisations who may have a query around Universal Credit or other welfare issues.
If you are an adviser in the UK you can telephone their advice line on 020 7812 5231.
They are also currently seeking case studies about UC clients which you can read about here: www.cpag.org.uk/early-warning-system
Across all boroughs, Wandle Housing residents can be referred to their partner Citizens Advice Tenancy Sustainment Services through this link - https://www.wandle.com/mymoney - who will provide advice on:
Income maximisation - ensuring residents maximise income – benefits, grants, reducing expenses
Debt advice - overall financial position, understanding household expenditure, priority and non-priority debt
Financial statements - financial capability and sustainable budgeting
Ongoing support - including new queries and continuing budgeting support
Help with initial Universal Credit claims if required
Help with benefit cap/ spare room subsidy
Help in putting together a realistic budget sheet
Grant/trust applications plus help with discretionary housing payments
For specific, perhaps more complex, benefit issues (incl. reviews and appeals), Wandle Housing residents can be referred to their Welfare Reform team at email@example.com
or for and initial discussion – firstname.lastname@example.org and 020 8682 5386.