NAWRA members have raised concerns about the date of claim for universal credit claimants who access universal credit via the Help to Claim service operated by Citizens Advice.
NAWRA has written to Amber Rudd, secretary of state for work and pensions to ask for clarity on the government’s position.
Amber Rudd and Neil Couling have told the Work and Pensions Committee that the DWP will pay compensation to claimants who have been misadvised, by the DWP, to claim universal credit and have lost out as a result.
Giving evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee, Amber Rudd and Neil Couling were questioned about the evidence that Jobcentres were misadvising claimants to move on to universal credit. This was as a direct result of evidence provided by NAWRA in our written response and in our oral evidence.
You can watch the evidence being put to Ms Rudd and Mr Couling, and their responses, here.
NAWRA member, Richard Machin from Staffordshire University, has written an excellent piece for online journal ‘The Conversation’ entitled “A welfare adviser’s view on Universal Credit: a flawed system that emphasises process over people.”
Richard highlights myriad problems with the rollout of Universal Credit and highlights NAWRAs position on implict consent. Richard concludes his article by saying:
Benefit advisers have long called for changes to the benefit system to make it easier to understand and access for claimants. The whole point of Universal Credit is to provide a more streamlined and coherent system. The widely reported problems with the rollout of Universal Credit demonstrate that there is still much work to be done to improve a system that too often emphasises process over people.
You can read the full article here.
NAWRA has sent a formal response to the Work and Pensions Committee Universal credit update inquiry. Thank you to all the members who responded to our request for information – your help has been invaluable, as always.
NAWRA has serious concerns about Universal Credit – in particular as the full service rolls out. We have called for a range of changes to be implemented if the full rollout is to have a chance of success. These include:
- Allowing alternative payment arrangements on request – allowing flexibility would ease the transition for claimants, ease the administrative burden on the DWP, and lessen the need for such a high level of personal budgeting support.
- Recognising that for some people getting online on a daily basis may not be possible – alternatives such as phone or face to face contact need to be more readily available.
- Verifying and paying housing costs much more quickly.
- Taking payments for temporary housing out of the monthly assessment process so that all costs can be met as they arise and paid promptly.
- Removing waiting days for all claimants – leaving claimants without money makes it virtually impossible to job seek effectively and put people in debt right from the start.
- Reinstating implicit consent for advisers – so that problems can be resolved as quickly and effectively as possible.
You can download and read our full response to the inquiry in March 2017 and updates from September and October 2017.