Welfare Reform

The UK government has made big changes to the benefits and tax credits system over the past few years because of the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

East Lothian Council have put together a helpful video of the changes which can be viewed HERE

There is also a Benefit Calculator Here to see what benefits you may be entitled to.

East Lothian Council Welfare Rights Team

East Lothian Council provides free, independent and confidential advice in all matters relating to benefits. The Welfare Rights Team are based in JohnMuir House, Haddington. They have six surgeries covering Musselburgh, Haddington, Prestonpans, Tranent, Dunbar and NorthBerwick. They offer advice on benefits and will assist in form filling andtribunal representation up to the Upper Tribunal. They also provide advice overthe telephone and will advocate on a customer's behalf and signpost wherenecessary to other agencies.

Free drop-insurgeries - phone 0131 653 5230
Welfare Rights,
Brunton Hall,

Tel: 0131 653 5230

East Lothian Council also provide a lot of information on Universal Credit Here

Dealing with Debts

If you are having problems paying other bills or debts please seek help. There are various agencies who offer sympathetic, independent and confidential advice.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Haddington Office:
46 Court Street,
01620 824 471

Musselburgh Office:
141 High Street,
0131 653 2748

Money Advice Service (MAS)

MAS is a service which offers free, easy to use tools and impartial advice on a wide range of money matters.

Universal Credit Help Page

Tel: 0300 500 5000


Digital Support for Universal Credit Claims

There is help available for tenants who have difficulty managing their Universal Credit claim on-line

Digital Support for Universal Credit

Need help to look for work online or help with your Universal Credit Journal?

Support available in:
  • Tranent Library, Monday 9.30am - 12pm
  • North Berwick Library, Tuesday 9.30am - 12pm
  • Dunbar Library, Wednesday 2pm - 4.30pm
  • Haddington Library, Thursday 9.30am - 12pm
  • Prestonpans Library, Friday 9.30am - 12pm
Just drop in - no appointment required!

Universal credit was launched in 2013 and replaces:
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit
The amount they decide you need towards your rent will be included in your new single monthly payment and you will have to pay your rent to your landlord yourself. Your rent is the "Housing Element" of your Universal Credit payment.

The Tax Credit Office will tell you when you can make a claim for Universal Credit, and stop claiming tax credits. You won't claim both at the same time. It will take up to four years before all tax credits claims are stopped, so don't worry if you don't hear anything soon. You don't need to do anything until you're told.