A Day in the Life of a Help To Claim AdviserDate published: 29th October 2021
The Help to Claim service provides assistance and support to anyone looking to make a new claim for Universal Credit. CARF has three advisers who work on the Help to Claim project. We asked one adviser to talk us through their typical day.
08:30 am - My day begins with a strong coffee and a check through the project email inbox for any new client referrals.
09:00 am – I contact my first client who wants to make an online claim for Universal Credit but is not confident with IT. I start off by providing the client general information about UC and other benefits and then complete a benefit check to make sure that Universal Credit is the right benefit for them. I also check for any other possible entitlements and identify that the client is also eligible for Council Tax Reduction, which will help towards their council tax bill.
I support the client over the phone to start their Universal Credit claim by guiding them through the online claim process. It takes about 40 minutes and the claim is complete.
Next up is assisting client with their claim for Council Tax Reduction. I go through the online claim form and submit this on the client’s behalf. I give the client my contact details and advise that I am here to provide advice and support right up until they receive their first correct payment of Universal Credit.
I then record the client’s details on our case recording system, noting the advice and assistance I have given.
10:30 am – Time for a quick cuppa
10:45 am - My second client of the day is very anxious as they struggle with reading and are unable to use a computer. I reassure the client that I can complete a three-way call to Universal Credit to explain their circumstances, request they be considered for a telephone claim and stay on the call to provide support. The client is also requiring assistance appealing their Personal Independence Payment decision. I advise the client of the appeals process and schedule them an appointment with one of our tribunal representative advisers.
12:30 pm – Lunch – Cheese and pickle sandwich today
1 pm - After lunch it is time to concentrate on my caseload. The Help to Claim service provides clients with support and advice right up until they receive their first correct payment of Universal Credit, therefore I have several clients to follow up to check on the progress of their claim.
I also regularly receive calls from previous clients who will contact for advice on other matters for example, issues with debt or requesting assistance completing a disability claim form. I assist these clients my making referrals to the relevant team within CARF such as our money or general advice service who will contact the client to assist.
2 pm – Time to get my headphones on as I am scheduled to cover the Help to Claim phone line until 3pm. As it is a national helpline, we get calls from clients all over Scotland.
3 pm – Have scheduled an hour for training and reading this afternoon. The rules surrounding Universal Credit change frequently, so I always ensure I allocate some time every week to read through any updates and complete any training modules.
4 pm – Have a final check on my emails and voice messages and prepare for tomorrow’s appointments.
4:30 pm – Time to hang up my headphones and log off the laptop. The end of another busy day.
If you require assistance applying for Universal Credit for the first time, please contact Citizens Advice and Rights Fife on 0345 140 0095 or our Text Service for the Deaf Community on 0787 2677904.
Our lines are open 10am – 3pm, Monday to Friday.
Advice is also provided by the National Help to Claim helpline on 0800 023 2581 or via webchat. Lines are open 8 am-6 pm, Monday to Friday.