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tel claims for full service - no longer possible!?

 

Peter Turville
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We are working with the elderly appointtee for a young person (also caught by the ‘disabled student’ catch 22 https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/11927/0. Appointtee has no digital access / skills and will not be able to maintain an online claim.

At end of Feb we spent 90 mins trying to arrange a home visit (as advised by DWP regional partnership team) for a FSUC claim and a ESA(C) claim (for the ‘disbled student’ work around) client has received no contact from UC HV team. having completed the ESA1 UC also tried to make an ESA ‘new claim’ appointment without success.

Today (another 90 mins) attempted to make a telephone FSUC claim via live service contact centre (again advised by partnership team this is the correct route). Both Wrexham and Stockport LSUC adamant that since abolition of new claims for FSUC they do not deal with FS telephone claims either. insisted this has to be done via FS contact centre (except this is not possible!).

Eventually regional partnership team gave direct contact number for partnership support manager at local Jobcentre. We were finally able to make an appointment for appointee to make the UC claim in person with the local partnership funded ‘digital support’ provider.

So far all we have managed to achieve is an appointment for the new UC claim.

As I type this the appointee has phoned to say the provider have now phoned to say they cannot help make a UC claim with an appointee.

BACK TO SQUARE ONE!

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Have a look at Esther McVey’s take on this.

     
Dan Manville
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If it were me I’d refer to normal DWP visiting; the appointee rather than the recipient. If they run into problems with conditionality don’t forget PLP are looking for case studies.

     
Peter Turville
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Andy
I note McVey provides no real answer as to how a vulnerable claimants can make (and perhaps more importantly) maintain an online claim if they don’t have the capability. As our case concerns an appointee (who is equally vulnerable) I don’t think DWP yet has any coherent policy on ‘vulnerable’ appointees! I don’t see how a claimant can have a ‘tailored journey’ (pass the sick bucket) when DWP provide no means to start that journey.

Dan - tried to get a HV to appointee and failed - just being sent round in circles!

Being told different things by regional partnership team, UC contact centres (live & full service), local Jobcentre & local UC digital support provider.

There have been further developments (going round a new circle) that I won’y bore readers with at this stage.

But its a good case example of how DWP treat vulnerable claimants under UC. Case has been referred to MP.

     
Daphne
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A response to a written question yesterday from Alok Sharma such as it’s worth…

There will always be people for whom engaging with us digitally is not a feasible proposition. As a result, a freephone telephone helpline and face to face support are also available for claimants to make and manage a Universal Credit claim. Where needed, the Work Coach will provide the claimant with a written note to remind them of the date of their next appointment, especially if the claimant has difficulty accessing or using online services. A home visit can also be arranged to support a claimant in making their initial claim and completing any other administrative tasks required to ensure the claimant receives the correct payment on time.

I’m sure giving the claimant a written note will make a world of difference…

 

     
Peter Turville
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The appropriate answer would have been ‘we have not made any assessment let alone made any suitable alternatives available in practice’. I think our clients case illustrates that none of the suggested ‘support’ is available / accessable in practice (at least in our clients case).

Are they really suggesting an elderly appointee should attend the Jobcentre every time they need to take an action to maintain the claim or will be provide with a home visit on every occasion as an alternative?

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Peter Turville - 14 March 2018 11:09 AM

Andy
I note McVey provides no real answer as to how a vulnerable claimants can make (and perhaps more importantly) maintain an online claim if they don’t have the capability. As our case concerns an appointee (who is equally vulnerable) I don’t think DWP yet has any coherent policy on ‘vulnerable’ appointees! I don’t see how a claimant can have a ‘tailored journey’ (pass the sick bucket) when DWP provide no means to start that journey.

Dan - tried to get a HV to appointee and failed - just being sent round in circles!

Being told different things by regional partnership team, UC contact centres (live & full service), local Jobcentre & local UC digital support provider.

There have been further developments (going round a new circle) that I won’y bore readers with at this stage.

But its a good case example of how DWP treat vulnerable claimants under UC. Case has been referred to MP.

Yeah absolutely…......erm…............we…...........see below. I’m not suggesting it would work, but we were driven to desperation for the reasons you set out above. Anyway i’ll flag up what comes up.

Re: The Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014 - Reg 4 ‘Secretary of State discretion that claims for Universal Credit may not be made’.

We wrote a letter few weeks ago, requesting clarification under what circumstances would the Secretary of state consider using their ‘discretion to determine that claims for universal credit may not be made’. I.e claiming legacy benefits as an alternative….............because….........

 

 

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Daphne - 14 March 2018 11:45 AM

A response to a written question yesterday from Alok Sharma such as it’s worth…

There will always be people for whom engaging with us digitally is not a feasible proposition. As a result, a freephone telephone helpline and face to face support are also available for claimants to make and manage a Universal Credit claim. Where needed, the Work Coach will provide the claimant with a written note to remind them of the date of their next appointment, especially if the claimant has difficulty accessing or using online services. A home visit can also be arranged to support a claimant in making their initial claim and completing any other administrative tasks required to ensure the claimant receives the correct payment on time.

I’m sure giving the claimant a written note will make a world of difference…

 

Regarding Alok Sharma’s comments above and Esther McVey’s letter regarding making claims via the free phone line, and the guidance and various FOI’s flagged up on Rightsnet.

We’ve just got off the phone from Knowsley contact centre. We went through the usual, advising that claims can be made via the phone citing the relevant regs i.e. 8 and 10 i.e. intent to claim CP regs 2013. The guidance etc allows provision to make claims over phone. We cited other contact centres as examples of having helped client’s make claims over the phone e.g. Grimsby.

It became evident from talking to the supervisor, the only guidance she had been given was to direct people to their nearest job centre, and i believed her (rightly or wrongly), that they did not know how to take a claim over the phone. In the end they agreed to contact our local Jobcentre and do a call back (only open to the public Monday and Friday). As a precaution the above does not happen, we have left a message for our local Job centre manager, to sort something.

Returning to Grimsby, and the DWP term ‘dummy emails’ for making claims via the phone line it was evident they had only one person in the centre who could actually action this.

Our client is computer illiterate and has extensive health issues. One of our experienced unpaid workers started off the process, she asked me to intervene. Just to attempt to claim a benefit.

 

     
Peter Turville
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My client (appointee) is (hopefully) attending the digital support provider’s office to make an online claim as I type (the only solution DWP could offer). DWP partnership manager has arranged for the provider to have direct access to a ‘UC service agent’ during the appointment to help with any issues. Apparently Jobcentre will then arrange for a work coach to provide ongoing support (unspecified) to help elderly appointee maintain the claim.

This has now taken 4+ hrs of interventions to get to this point!