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Claiming UC useful tips

 

MaggieB
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Dorchester CAB

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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
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The Royal British Legion

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Advisor_1
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Byker Community Trust

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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
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Generalist Adviser, Southwark Citizens Advice Bureau

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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
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Welfare rights team, St Mungo's Broadway

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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
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Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

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

     
Sally63
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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
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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
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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
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Have a look at http://dosh.org/learn-about-money/banking/.

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

     
Sally63
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

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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