Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit  →  Thread

Claiming UC useful tips

 

MaggieB
forum member

Dorchester CAB

Send message

Total Posts: 151

Joined: 11 October 2010

We had the joy of helping one of our clients complete online UC claim this week (first one in full service area) and discovered a few things such as:
client will need access to email to pick up 6 digit access code within one hour,
without a passport don’t attempt to verify ID on line, tick the ‘not possible’ box and call helpline to arrange appointment,
if the date on the tenancy is not exactly correct the UC system will thow out claim for costs and HA cannot verify this by email (this in call to HA to be told they would call back with correct date in 5 working days!)
This is the sort of stuff that isn’t in CPAG/Advisernet etc but would be really helpful for advisers and clients we are helping claim
I thought it may be useful for all of us to compile a list of handy tips which I am happy to collate into a document (remove the rants!) and post here for anyone to use
So if anyone has any tips/how to resolve problems from their experience please post on this thread.
Thanks

     
Martin
forum member

The Royal British Legion

Send message

Homegroup

Send message

Total Posts: 11

Joined: 17 April 2015

Advisor_1
forum member

Byker Community Trust

Send message

Total Posts: 123

Joined: 8 April 2015

Hi Maggie,

Just re tenancy start date - I work for a Housing Association, and when a tenant makes a claim (full service area), we get an email from DWP, asking us to confirm that the tenancy details provided by the claimant are correct. We return the form, and if there are discrepancies, the claimant will get a task in their to-do list, asking them to confirm that the details we have provided are correct. If the claimant doesn’t do this, then the Housing Costs aren’t paid, but if they do, then the Housing Costs should be paid. The issue we are finding is that the DWP are not always receiving the form that we sent back.  So don’t worry too much if the tenant doesn’t know their exact start date or rent charges. This can be rectified.

I’m not sure of the process in the Private sector though.

     
Sally63
forum member

Generalist Adviser, Southwark Citizens Advice Bureau

Send message

Total Posts: 81

Joined: 21 January 2016

The client has to provide a bank account. client’s say the DWP won’t accept Post Office accounts (sign this isn’t in the CPAG either and I assume it’s actually wrong)

If the client doesn’t have a bank account and maybe can’t because they are a refugee with no passport but they do have friends then give the friends bank account details —the DWP won’t know. Be sure to explain that if the friend doesn’t hand the money over they won’t be able to complain

     
CHC
forum member

Welfare rights team, St Mungo's Broadway

Send message

Total Posts: 129

Joined: 22 June 2010

You can’t apply using a post office card account,  our staff have tried but it has not been possible but any current account or credit union current account is fine. St Mungo’s has experienced huge problems helping clients open bank accounts (we are a homeless charity with teams working with rough sleepers and also manage hostels and supported accommodation), most banks want photo id which are clients don’t always have.

     
Welfare Rights Adviser
forum member

Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

Send message

Total Posts: 95

Joined: 23 June 2010

Have you established which banks will open account without photo id?

     
Sally63
forum member

Generalist Adviser, Southwark Citizens Advice Bureau

Send message

Total Posts: 81

Joined: 21 January 2016

I think I am right that when a UC claim is closed by the DWP it vanishes and can’t be accessed.

it struck me (over the weekend when I should have been thinking of something else) that it might not be safe to do an MR via the journal and that it should therefore always be also done in writing.

Or with a screen shot saved to the client’s record.

Does everyone agree or am I unnecessarily complicating things?

     
ClairemHodgson
forum member

SC Law, Harrow

Send message

Total Posts: 603

Joined: 13 April 2016

Welfare Rights Adviser - 19 May 2017 04:22 PM

Have you established which banks will open account without photo id?

trouble is the banks have to comply with the money laundering & POCA legislation, and it’s that which makes it difficult for those who don’t have passports and the like….

     
WillH
forum member

freelance welfare rights trainer

Send message

Total Posts: 125

Joined: 17 June 2010

Well yes but not so long ago people didn’t have photocard driving licences and many people neither drive nor have passports.

Would love to know which banks are able to verify ID without these. Coming up as a problem for several client groups.

Re CPAG information - technically DWP should be able to provide another payment method (it’s in their guidance!) and having a bank account is not a condition of entitlement to UC. I know CPAG are trying to find out more about what should happen in practice.

     
Gareth Morgan
forum member

Managing Director, Ferret, Cardiff

Send message

Total Posts: 1377

Joined: 16 June 2010

Have a look at http://dosh.org/learn-about-money/banking/.

(declaration of interest- I did 6 years as chair of DOSH.)

     
Sally63
forum member

Generalist Adviser, Southwark Citizens Advice Bureau

Send message

Total Posts: 81

Joined: 21 January 2016

WillH - 21 May 2017 01:23 PM

Re CPAG information - technically DWP should be able to provide another payment method (it’s in their guidance!) and having a bank account is not a condition of entitlement to UC. I know CPAG are trying to find out more about what should happen in practice.

In practice having a bank account is a condition of receiving UC and very difficult to deal with. Does the refusal to accept a Post Office account have any legal basis?

     
Advisor_1
forum member

Byker Community Trust

Send message

Total Posts: 123

Joined: 8 April 2015

Welfare Rights Adviser - 19 May 2017 04:22 PM

Have you established which banks will open account without photo id?

I know locally, if the claimant has no photo ID, the DWP are looking at providing an official letter for the claimant to hand in to the bank to confirm that they are who they say they are.

     
Advisor_1
forum member

Byker Community Trust

Send message

Total Posts: 123

Joined: 8 April 2015

Sally63 - 21 May 2017 08:22 AM

I think I am right that when a UC claim is closed by the DWP it vanishes and can’t be accessed.

it struck me (over the weekend when I should have been thinking of something else) that it might not be safe to do an MR via the journal and that it should therefore always be also done in writing.

Or with a screen shot saved to the client’s record.

Does everyone agree or am I unnecessarily complicating things?

I have done a few MR’s, mainly around R2R and Hab Res. We have done them in writing, as when the claims have been closed, we have not been able to add anything to the Journal. However, when we sent them in in writing, the claimant got a message, and a decision on the MR posted in their online Journal. Seems a bit of a messy system really.

     
WillH
forum member

freelance welfare rights trainer

Send message

Total Posts: 125

Joined: 17 June 2010

Sally - for what it’s worth, guidance is here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/473312/admb1.pdf

Para B1006

Re Post Office accounts, I had a think about this and the reasoning I can imagine the DWP might give is that you can’t set up direct debits so budgeting on UC would be harder….Or something like that. But this refusal doesn’t have any legal basis, as far as I can see. Of course, that doesn’t stop them making it impossible.

     
Benny Fitzpatrick
forum member

Welfare Rights Officer, Southway Housing Trust, Manchester

Send message

Total Posts: 311

Joined: 2 June 2015

Just discussing this with our money advisers. They advise that setting up a “basic” bank account should not require photo ID, but clients should be careful the bank know they are asking for a “basic” account rather than a standard current account. (In practice, banks tend to steer customers in the direction of the standard current account as it makes them more money.)

     
Billy Durrant
forum member

The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

Send message

Total Posts: 753

Joined: 22 July 2013

Thanks for this, we’re about to go full digital in Calderdale in about 3 weeks time, so very timely.

Welfare Rights Adviser - 19 May 2017 04:22 PM

Have you established which banks will open account without photo id?

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/basic-bank-accounts  - seemingly can be opened with a letter from the Jobcentre/GP etc in the absence of photo ID.

There are also Simple Payment cards that UC can apparently be paid on to, although the ID requirements for them seem more restrictive than basic bank accounts https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/461532/questions-about-your-simple-payment-card.pdf

 

     
stevejohnsontrainer
forum member

@theflipchart ltd

Send message

Total Posts: 96

Joined: 15 August 2013

The UC regs do not at first glance insist a claimant MUST have a bank account. That may be a Gateway rule but it is not I think a Basic rule. If so…

Reg 46 of the UC/PIP/JSA/ESA claims and payment regs allows payment by direct credit, and separately to this, all matters of payment methods of benefits tend to fall within the unappealable gift of the secretary of state.

So the position boils down to “we can pay you how we like and the law allows us to pay by direct credit, so you will need a bank account because we say so, even if it is not a defined requirement”.

It cannot be correct that access to a statutory benefit be conditional on the ability of an individual to enter into a contract/be lucky enough to enjoy the favour of an unconnected private body (ie a bank). That would mean that the conditions required by the bank effectively become part of the basic rules for the statutory benefit.

I wonder if this would be within range of a judicial review? Should those (through no fault of their own) without access to bank accounts issue paper letters to the DWP seeking to confirm their desire to claim, and then appeal the inevitable refusal/lack of response, so that matter can ultimately be settled by the tribunal?

     
Jon (CHDCA)
forum member

Welfare Benefits, Craven CAB, N Yorks

Send message

Total Posts: 993

Joined: 16 June 2010

FOI answer from DWP on Post Office Card Accounts (POCA) last year:

We currently hold no information on POCA being removed as a an option on digital services as we will accept POCA accounts for claimants to initially make a UC claim, however these accounts remain the exception to be used only where other banking facilities are not available to the claimant. We would then support the claimant where appropriate, via Personal Budgeting Support, to try to move them on to better banking facilities in the future. Research shows very few claimants should be unable to access traditional bank accounts or basic bank account facilities, particularly with current on-going work to improve basic bank accounts and make them more widely available.  DWP is working closely with financial institutions to develop a range of banking products which would be available for all claimants, irrespective of their financial history or circumstances. The Department sees the use of a transactional bank account as a key enabler to preparing people for the world of work and enabling them to budget effectively.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/post_office_card_accounts_for_un

As I recall from legacy benefit claims, if you don’t enter a valid bank or building soc account number on the form, then they will just contact you later and you can supply the PO account for payment. I guess that doesn’t work for UC?

     
MaggieB
forum member

Dorchester CAB

Send message

Total Posts: 151

Joined: 11 October 2010

Advisor_1 - 22 May 2017 10:09 AM
Sally63 - 21 May 2017 08:22 AM

I think I am right that when a UC claim is closed by the DWP it vanishes and can’t be accessed.

it struck me (over the weekend when I should have been thinking of something else) that it might not be safe to do an MR via the journal and that it should therefore always be also done in writing.

Or with a screen shot saved to the client’s record.

Does everyone agree or am I unnecessarily complicating things?

I have done a few MR’s, mainly around R2R and Hab Res. We have done them in writing, as when the claims have been closed, we have not been able to add anything to the Journal. However, when we sent them in in writing, the claimant got a message, and a decision on the MR posted in their online Journal. Seems a bit of a messy system really.

Don’t quite understand that…surely if someone’s claim is closed they wouldn’t be checking their online journal any more so how would they get their decision?

     
Disability Rights Adviser
forum member

Citizens Advice Rotherham

Send message

Total Posts: 17

Joined: 23 May 2015

Sally63 - 22 May 2017 07:59 AM
WillH - 21 May 2017 01:23 PM

Re CPAG information - technically DWP should be able to provide another payment method (it’s in their guidance!) and having a bank account is not a condition of entitlement to UC. I know CPAG are trying to find out more about what should happen in practice.

In practice having a bank account is a condition of receiving UC and very difficult to deal with. Does the refusal to accept a Post Office account have any legal basis?

It would appear not, Sally.

See M3130 ¶.6

     

File Attachments

  • admm3.pdf (File Size: 88KB - Downloads: 143)
WillH
forum member

freelance welfare rights trainer

Send message

Total Posts: 125

Joined: 17 June 2010

And similarly this:

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2016-0778/New_claims_v3.0.pdf

mentions post office card accounts ‘by exception’. You start to wonder what is the point of their guidance if DWP staff routinely deny it though. But worth trying to refer to it in full service?

Could also complain with compensation request for UC missed (and expense involved - eg in one case the client’s mum, also on benefits, paid for his driving licence application).

I also agree with Steve’s point above about potential JR.

     
Dan Manville
forum member

Mental health, Wolverhampton CC Welfare Rights

Send message

Total Posts: 1686

Joined: 15 October 2012

My concern here is that the claims and payment regs give quite wide information gathering powers; the Sec State can require whatever information he considers appropriate, rather than just information required to determine the claim. So absence of s could generate a mechanism to render a claim defective. Similar with an address which is a concern for my itinerant audience.

     
CHC
forum member

Welfare rights team, St Mungo's Broadway

Send message

Total Posts: 129

Joined: 22 June 2010

If anyone has had success with making a claim online with a post office card account, I would be interested to hear this as our staff are reporting it is not possible. 

I have been informed this week that one of our clients has been able to use a post office card account for their UC claim but he was unable to input the account details via the normal online claim. Instead he attended the job centre where staff had to assist with the claim and the post office card account info had to be put on by staff at the back end of their system….

In terms of basic bank accounts and ID, Hostel managers and staff have reported back to our team that clients are still been turned away at some branches of he main high street banks if they have no photo ID despite the fact that this is not needed for basic accounts.  Metro bank has been the best so far for opening accounts but I believe this is a London/southeast centric bank only.

     
Advisor_1
forum member

Byker Community Trust

Send message

Total Posts: 123

Joined: 8 April 2015

MaggieB - 22 May 2017 10:31 PM
Advisor_1 - 22 May 2017 10:09 AM
Sally63 - 21 May 2017 08:22 AM

I think I am right that when a UC claim is closed by the DWP it vanishes and can’t be accessed.

it struck me (over the weekend when I should have been thinking of something else) that it might not be safe to do an MR via the journal and that it should therefore always be also done in writing.

Or with a screen shot saved to the client’s record.

Does everyone agree or am I unnecessarily complicating things?

I have done a few MR’s, mainly around R2R and Hab Res. We have done them in writing, as when the claims have been closed, we have not been able to add anything to the Journal. However, when we sent them in in writing, the claimant got a message, and a decision on the MR posted in their online Journal. Seems a bit of a messy system really.

Don’t quite understand that…surely if someone’s claim is closed they wouldn’t be checking their online journal any more so how would they get their decision?

You are right, the claimant wouldn’t necessarily be checking their account, but when the claim is made, there is a question which asks whether the claimant would like notifications via text or email when there is any activity on their account, so if the DWP post anything to the journal the claimant will still get a notification of activity in their account, regardless of whether it is an open claim or not.

     
Daphne
Administrator

rightsnet writer / editor

Send message

Total Posts: 1357

Joined: 14 March 2014

FOI response which gives details of what happens to journal entries - who they are sent to and who responds -

A recent addition to the service allows claimants to select different categories when they want to raise a query via a journal. This enables Universal Credit (UC) staff to see what the query is about. This will then be allocated to the appropriate job role with a due date of the day the to-do was created.

For example, claimants will be redirected to the correct part of the service when they try to report a change in their circumstances in the journal. This increases the chances of changes being reported correctly and on time and encourages self-service online.

As multiple types of enquiries or content may be raised within a claimant’s journal, different procedures and or guidance products may be referenced as appropriate…

The agents then reply via the journal and can alert the claimant via sms or email that they need to log in. If the enquiry was for another department they would say this in their response.

There is no target time for when claimants are responded to as it would depend upon the complexity of the request but the aim is to have them cleared within 5 days, often sooner.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/journal_note_wrong_option_box_se#incoming-984422

     
Billy Durrant
forum member

The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

Send message

Total Posts: 753

Joined: 22 July 2013

Attended ID verification interview with claimant today. Was told that in order to claim housing costs he will have to bring in tenancy agreement (fair enough) but also confirmation that last 2 months rent has been paid, i.e. letter from landlord stating that it has or bank statement showing payment. Nothing to do with APA apparently, just part of the verification of the housing element.

Is this normal? Not come across that before.

     
Billy Durrant
forum member

The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

Send message

Total Posts: 753

Joined: 22 July 2013

Another great customer experience this morning. Attended Claimant Commitment interview but WC refused to go ahead with it as she had no photo ID on her (realms of other ID including letters from UC, GP, tenancy agreement, tribunal service, etc.) I attended the previous interview when this appt was made, she was not told she had to bring in photo ID. “It states it on your journal” says the WC.  We get the journal up on client’s phone, it doesn’t. Irrespective, claim delayed for another 8 days until the next available appt. Bring photo ID to all appts!
Edit
I was asked for photo ID too!

      [ Edited: 16 Aug 2017 at 01:19 pm by Billy Durrant ]
stuart
Administrator

rightsnet editor

Send message

Total Posts: 277

Joined: 21 March 2016

DWP is reported to have issued guidance ‘reminding’ work coaches that UC can be paid into a Post Office account…....

‘Homeless Link has been in discussions with DWP who has confirmed that recent internal communications have been issued to Work Coaches to remind them that where a claimant is unable to open or manage a transactional account, DWP can pay Universal Credit into a Post Office card account. There is also the option for the first payment to go into a third party’s account (usually for one payment only), to enable time for a new payment account to be processed.’

http://www.homeless.org.uk/connect/blogs/2017/sep/04/how-will-universal-credit-claimants-experiencing-homelessness-be-paid

     
Dan Manville
forum member

Mental health, Wolverhampton CC Welfare Rights

Send message

Total Posts: 1686

Joined: 15 October 2012

stuart - 05 September 2017 09:33 AM

DWP is reported to have issued guidance ‘reminding’ work coaches that UC can be paid into a Post Office account…....

but will the online claim process accept a POCA account number I wonder?