Good afternoon

The Department of Work & Pensions Minister The Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP issued a statement yesterday, after the department, local MPs, MSPs and the media had been inundated with a deluge of complaints from claimants, who had lodged online claims, but then had waited literally hours to get through to the published contact number 0800 328 5644 to validate their identity, current status, income etc. 

To reassure worried and frustrated claimants, she stated: 

“We are doing whatever it takes to make claiming benefits as straightforward as possible during a time when we are receiving an unprecedented number of claims.

That’s why no one making a new claim to Universal Credit needs to call us.

Once you’ve completed your online application, you can rest assured we have received your claim and we will call you if we need to check any of the information you’ve given us.

Since 16 March 2020, more than a million new claims for Universal Credit have been processed, and 10,000 staff are being redeployed to help on the frontline. A rapid recruitment drive has been launched for an additional 5,000 to aid the effort.”

Ordinarily, when a claim for UC is made, an appointment is arranged for the claimant to visit a JCP office interview, where ID and income checks etc are done. But, during the Covid crisis, DWP has agreed to dispense with the need for face-to-face interviews and are taking a more relaxed approached to verifying identities, income, capital etc. Much of this is being done by some of the 10,000 staff its deployed from other parts of the department to assist.

If any of your tenants have made a claim, advise them, DWP will be in contact, if they haven’t already spoken to them. DWP staff will be making outbound calls over the Easter weekend. So, in anticipation a call may be made, tenants should have ready, documents like – Driving licence, passport, P60, wage slips, bank statements.

Once the claim is considered complete, with ID validated, the claim should proceed to payment, normally 1 month and 7 days after the initial claim. For example, if someone made their claim on the 26th of March, they could expect payment on 2nd May. Each month thereafter, their claim should be paid on the 2nd covering the period 26th-25th of previous month.

If the tenant has asked for an Advance Payment due to lack of funds, that can be paid within a few days. However, recovery of the sum will start immediately by deduction from each monthly payment.

If you require any further information on this or any other welfare reform or Covid 19 issue please get in touch or 07733 080 389.

Bill Irvine

UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd