THE head of the area's local help hub admits he has "serious concerns" families will lose out financially if they don't act on an upcoming change to how benefits are paid.

Joe McCormack of West Dunbartonshire Citizens Advice Bureau (WDCAB) warned local residents who claim Tax Credits not to ignore their migration notice when they receive it.

Currently, Tax Credits are paid by HMRC, but when people are “migrated” they will need to make a claim for Universal Credit to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Advisors at WDCAB are concerned that residents will think the letter does not apply to them and Joe urged residents not to overlook the new way of things.

He said: “For many people whose circumstances haven’t changed in recent years, Tax Credits have been paid by HMRC.

"When they receive their Migration Notice, claimants will have to make an online application for Universal Credit.

"We are concerned that some families may not consider themselves to be part of the benefits system and assume it’s a mistake of some sort.

"This could mean that they fail to respond to the DWP when they receive the Migration Notice urging them to make a claim for Universal Credit.

"But this letter will include a deadline for claims – people are urged not to miss the deadline as Tax Credit support will end after this date and may put any transitional protection at risk.

"This change could also affect the processes for some Social Security Scotland benefits, such as Scottish Child Payment."

Before adding: “If people are receiving Tax Credits, it’s important they apply before the deadline to make sure they don’t lose out financially.

"We’re worried that families will lose much-needed financial help in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis."

WDCAB will be organising advice clinics in community settings in the next few months to help people with the process.

They will also be working to raise awareness locally of the change and of the likely impact on Tax Credit claimants – some of whom have no experience of a very complicated benefits system.

Joe finished: "We would encourage anyone worried about these changes to seek help from the CAB.

"People can phone us on 0800 484 0136 or visit . We are here for everyone, whether they are working or not. We don’t judge, we just help, and our advisers get real results.”