Help to Claim service – reply from minister

NAWRA has received a letter from David Rutley, Minister for Welfare Delivery responding to our concerns about the Help to Claim service – in particular, the lack of face-to-face support in the service and the general lack of support for people needing advice given the ramping up of ‘Voluntary move to UC’.

The Minister says –

‘I thought it may be helpful to make clear Help to Claim is designed to be accessed after someone has decided to apply for Universal Credit (UC). It is not intended to help someone decide whether UC is right for them.’

He also reiterates the DWP’s assertion that jobcentre/DWP staff do not advise people to claim UC – apparently ‘independent welfare advice is available’ but the Minister has not responded to the point that funding is needed for this.

NAWRA has responded asking –

  • Does the government plan to provide funding to increase advice provision, particularly face to face? 
  • What safeguards does the DWP have in place, or will be putting in place, to ensure that no person is directed to claim universal credit without having an opportunity to receive a full benefit check and be advised of their options and the implications of those options? 
  • Can you please clarify what the Department is doing to achieve its objective ‘to ensure the right information is available to claimants in order to support them in making an informed decision about whether a voluntary move to universal credit is right for them’?

    Read our letter in full
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State Pension Age and Universal Credit

The government has conceded to an Early Day Motion, tabled by Mark Tami MP and signed by 73 others, calling for Universal Credit to be payable up to the day before State Pension is paid.

In response to the news, NAWRA released the following statement:

This is a great achievement by Mark Tami and will make a huge difference to all the pensioners who are currently being left with a big gap in income.

 

NAWRA is delighted to see the government conceding on one of the many design flaws within universal credit and we hope that this indicates a willingness to continue listening to those with knowledge and experience of the hardships being faced by many universal credit claimants.

Read the government statement.

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Disabled people moving on to UC losing out

NAWRA has written to Neil Couling, Director General of UC, to express concern about his assertion that the SDP payments made under the Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 ensure that claimants do not see a cash loss – NAWRA does not believe this is correct.

NAWRA calls on the government to ensure that claimants who migrated to universal credit prior to 16 January 2019 receive the same level of protection as those who will be managed migrated.

Read the letter and the reply from Neil Couling.

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Fraudulent universal credit claims being made to obtain advance payments

NAWRA members have reported via the rightsnet discussion forum that clients have been
contacted by a loan company offering a ‘government grant’.

The loan company then takes information sufficient to verify ID and submit a universal credit claim without the client’s knowledge, arranges an advance and then keeps a substantial amount of it for themselves. The first the client knows is their legacy benefits have stopped, and they find they are now a universal credit claimant with a large advance to repay that they did not receive.

NAWRA has written to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd with our recommendations to prevent this fraudulent activity.

Read our letter and the reply.

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Date of claim for UC – NAWRA’s letter to the secretary of state for work and pensions

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.

We received a disappointing reply and we responded on 20 June.

The latest reply from Amber Rudd (12 July) does not address our points.

Please send any comments to daphne@nawra.org.uk

 

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