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Guidance on universal support

 

Daphne
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The DWP has just published guidance on universal support for local authorities and partners who are providing the support -

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-universal-support-201819-guidance

also in our resources section

     
Andrew Dutton
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• the claimant does not have the digital capability and cannot and may never be able to self–serve on-line, claimants who cannot and may never be able to self-serve online even with US/ in-depth digital training, should be directed to the Universal Credit Service Centre who will provide/arrange the appropriate support for the person to make the Universal Credit claim and the on-going administration of their claim. 


WHAT ‘appropriate support’????

     
Jeremy Barker
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Andrew Dutton - 12 March 2018 03:31 PM

• the claimant does not have the digital capability and cannot and may never be able to self–serve on-line, claimants who cannot and may never be able to self-serve online even with US/ in-depth digital training, should be directed to the Universal Credit Service Centre who will provide/arrange the appropriate support for the person to make the Universal Credit claim and the on-going administration of their claim. 


WHAT ‘appropriate support’????

That’s a good question - but they have to get through to the service centre in the first place.

I have just started providing the Assisted Digital element of Universal Support for North Lincolnshire. One of the first people referred to me clearly has no prospect of using the online service - he was sent on a 2-week IT course when he claimed benefit a few years ago and at the end of the 2 weeks had learned nothing and was told by the tutor that it was most unlikely he would ever learn to use a computer. I therefore decided that I would contact the service centre to get things going but as I have mentioned elsewhere it’s taking so long for them to answer the phone that I had to abandon the call and send the client away with the UC helpline number.

     
stevejohnsontrainer
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Hi Jeremy,

In relation to assisted digital support, has the DWP discussed with your office how it will handle date of claim issues arising from regulation 10 of the UC… Claims and Payments regs? [in particular 10(1)(b)] - see below.

I am wondering if we should be telling claimants to claim in the normal way and then put a request for a start date in line with first date of date of contact with the assisting agency (if it was earlier). Any thoughts?

Steve

Date of claim for universal credit
10.—(1) Where a claim for universal credit is made, the date on which the claim is made is—

(a)subject to sub-paragraph (b), in the case of a claim made by means of an electronic communication in accordance with regulation 8(1), the date on which the claim is received at an appropriate office;
(b)in the case of a claim made by means of an electronic communication in accordance with regulation 8(1), where the claimant receives assistance at home or at an appropriate office from the Secretary of State, or a person providing services to the Secretary of State, which is provided for the purpose of enabling that person to make a claim, the date of first notification of a need for such assistance;
(c)subject to sub-paragraph (d), in the case of a claim made by telephone in accordance with regulation 8(2), the date on which that claim is properly completed in accordance with regulation 8(4); or
(d)where the Secretary of State is unable to accept a claim made by telephone in accordance with regulation 8(2) on the date of first notification of intention to make the claim, the date of first notification, provided a claim properly completed in accordance with regulation 8(4) is made within one month of that date,
or the first day in respect of which the claim is made if later than the above.

(2) In the case of a claim which is defective by virtue of regulation 8, the date of claim is to be the first date on which the defective claim is received or made but is treated as properly made in the first instance in accordance with regulation 8(6).

     
Jeremy Barker
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An excellent point. I think that date would be used if the claimant had been referred to us by the DWP (I believe that has to be via the local authority - the guidance says they aren’t allowed to refer directly) but we have been told that we be paid for assisting not only those referred by the DWP but also those referred from any other organisation or who come to us to seek help themselves. For those not referred by the DWP there seems to be no way of registering this date with the UC system and as I mentioned my effort to contact the UC service centre failed.

     
stevejohnsontrainer
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Messages received. Regulation 10(1)(b) reads “... a person providing services to the Secretary of State, which is provided for the purpose of enabling that person to make a claim”. I have assumed this to mean some kind of contract between the DWP and the assisting organisation, although the wording is not too fussy about the precise route taken to arrive at the point of digital help. It would surely be improperly restrictive for the DWP to exclude those who arrive at your door by their own initiative.

The problem is most claimants will be unaware of the potential assistance afforded by Regulation 10, and will probably simply accept the DWP determined date of claim.