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Universal Credit on the TV Red Button with Sky and Virgin

Benefit claimants will be able to check their eligibility for Universal Credit (UC) in future by pressing the red button on their TV remotes.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) hopes the move will help reach seven million people without internet access to give them information about the new benefit. Universal Credit is merging six benefits into one but has faced delays.

The new Universal Credit information channels have now seen more than 30,000 hits since they were launched at the end of October, according to digital content provider Looking Local.

Sky and Virgin customers who have interactive TV can scroll through the menu to the relevant page to view information, including checking their eligibility for UC and learning how they can make a claim.

Looking Local has also designed the only public sector service interface for a games console, which Wii users can now use to view the details.

Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said: “As we continue with the rollout of Universal Credit, increasing numbers of people will need to know how it affects them and how to prepare.

“Working with Looking Local, we have ensured as many tools as possible exist for people to find out everything they need to know about the easier-to-understand and more flexible benefit that is Universal Credit.

“We are also making sure Universal Credit is an opportunity for people to build online skills, so they can look for work and benefit from what the online world offers for 21st century life.”

Those who use their smartphone to connect to the web, even though they might not have an internet connection in their home, can access the information via the new app, My Council. The information can also be accessed via Facebook.

Sky viewers can access the service by going to channel 539 and pressing the red button; Virgin viewers do likewise on channel 233.

Image: Flickr/Meriaic

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