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Universal Credit

Support services

Help with debt and budgeting

Contact your local advice centre for help to budget your finances and help with food, electricity and fuel. Or call Debt Advice on 0800 0281 881

Accessing food banks

You can get vouchers for a local food bank. Local advice centres, GPs, social workers and the Jobs and Benefits Office can also refer you to a local food bank. You can also apply for emergency support when in financial crisis. For example, your local advice centre can help you apply for support from Discretionary Support.

Interpreter service

You can book an interpreter at your local Jobs and Benefits office, through Advice NI or The Welfare Reform Helpline on 0808 8020 020.

Free internet access

The Jobs and Benefits Office, community centres, libraries and some advice centres have computers or devices with internet access that you can book to use for free.

All our community centres have free WiFi and you can book a computer to use by calling 028 9027 0644.

Help with health issues

You should log any difficulties that you are having on your Universal Credit online journal. This includes any health issues which prevent you from keeping appointments at the Jobs and Benefits Office.

If you miss an appointment, you will have to give a ‘good reason’ and will need to support your reason with evidence. This might be a letter from your GP, or another healthcare professional.

Childcare payments

Tell your childcare provider that you are changing over to Universal Credit and have to wait five weeks for your first payment. You may have to cover your childcare payment upfront.

Housing support

Contact your local advice centre for support. You can call Housing Rights on 028 9024 5640. If you are facing homelessness call Simon Community to prevent this on 0800 1712 222  or the Northern Ireland Housing Executive homelessness team on 0344 8920 900.

Stress management

Many people are experiencing anxiety and stress over their situation. Remember this is not your fault or a choice to be in this situation. You are not alone. Talk to someone who can help or call Inspire on 028 9032 8474. If you need immediate help call Lifeline on 0808 8088 000 or the Samaritans on 028 9011 6123.

Challenging a decision

If you feel that a decision has been made unfairly, you can speak with a legal adviser at Law Centre NI on 028 9024 4401.

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