Fife residents affected by changes to the welfare benefit system are being offered extra help to assist them over the next few months.
With one in six Fifers of working age currently receiving benefits, Citizens Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) has received additional funding to set up local, community based, pop-up clinics.
People may be familiar with some of the benefit system changes that have already been introduced, such as employment and support allowance replacing incapacity benefit, but the soon-to-be introduced universal credit, benefit capping, and changes to housing benefits are expected to have an even bigger impact.
“Anyone currently receiving job seekers allowance, income support, child, or working tax credit will be affected by the change,” explained CARF business development manager, David Sharratt.
Clinics will be available in easy to reach places such as community and shopping centres and will run in each town for between one and five days.
Access will be on a drop in basis and where possible some will be organised for evenings and weekends.
David added: “Demand for advice is bound to increase as the roll-out of the new benefit system gains momentum.
“Our pop-up clinics will provide a time-limited extension to our current frontline service.
“Their primary purpose will be to provide information and advice that helps people to manage successfully the transition to the new benefit system.”
The pop-up clinics will be operated by a mix of paid staff and volunteers.
Norman Stirling and Lorraine Reid have both been appointed welfare benefit advisers and will head them up locally.
Both previously helped as qualified volunteer advisers at the Kirkcaldy Citizens Advice Bureau.
Commenting on his appointment Norman said: “I am really looking forward to helping people cope with these changes; I hope that anyone with worries will come along to the clinics and discuss their concerns with us.”
“If more detailed advice or casework is required clients will be referred to an existing Frontline Office, the Money Advice Unit, or the Client Representation Team.”
Details of where the pop-up clinics are to be held are still being finalised and will be advertised in the near future.