The move is likely to see a spike in the work of the town’s Citzens’ Advice Bureau.
News of the development was given to members of the town council’s general purposes committee in a written report on Monday (January 22).
Universal Credit is being rolled out across the country in stages.
It is generally paid monthly and replaces the following benefits:
• Child Tax Credit
• Housing Benefit
• Income Support
• income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
• income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
• Working Tax Credit
According to the Wealden District Council website, the date for the introduction of Universal Credit in this area is September 26, via the Lewes Job Centre, for postcode areas TN22 2 **, TN22 3**, TN22 4**, TN22 5**, TN22 9**
Wealden CAB, which gets an annual grant from Uckfield Town Council, said in its report:
“The team has continued to be proactive in research and campaigning, submitting 52 evidence forms to national Citizens Advice, over half of which concerned the ineffective operation of the benefit system. Current areas being targeted for action concern:
“The roll out of Universal Credit, which is already affecting clients in the Wadhurst area and which goes live in Uckfield later this year.
“We have had some success with the government agreeing to: make its telephone helpline free, remove the seven-day waiting period and ease the transition to the new benefit through extensions to housing benefit and offering advance payments, but there is much still to do with 1 in 10 of the clients Citizens Advice sees in Sussex waiting for ten weeks or more for their first payment.”
Cllr Ian Smith, Independent, Ridgewood, said the introduction of Universal Credit was something the council should keep an eye on.
In the first nine months of 2017/18 the Uckfield bureau has helped 1,135 people, a comparable number with the same period the previous year.
“Together with our East Sussex partners we have helped 465 Uckfield residents with 2,061 issues in this period.
“Two in five of our clients had a disability or long-term health condition and around a quarter were 60 or over.
“Clients raised 4,151 issues – giving a ratio of 3.7 issues per client – the ratio is higher for Uckfield residents at 4.4 issues per client,” the CAB report said.
*Benefits and tax credits made up 33 per cent of the issues the Wealden CAB dealt with up until the end of December.
The next highest category was debt.