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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

Changing from an online claim to a telephone claim, Can it be done?

AnnieG22
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Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

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Hi,
My client was supported by the HTC service to make a claim for UC. He has significant mental health issues and is very vulnerable. He told the advisor that he would be unable to use a computer and could not manage a claim on line. I also noted this in my referral to the HTC service and requested support to make a telehone claim.  He was advised that claim had to be on line. He has an appointment next Friday to verify his ID and sign his claimant commitment. I have asked the DWP if the claim can be changed to a telehone claim and have been advised it is not possible once an on line claim has been made.
I have looked at the regs and cant find anything specific to changing to a telehone claim from an on line claim but it is possible to ammend.
Amendment of claim -
30.—(1) A person who has made a claim for benefit may amend it at any time before a determination has been made on the claim by notice in writing received at an appropriate office, by telephone call to a telephone number specified by the Secretary of State or in such other manner as the Secretary of State may decide or accept.
(2) Any claim amended in accordance with paragraph (1) may be treated as if it had been so amended in the first instance.

Could this apply to the method of claim? Has anyone had any experience of this? or can point me to the regs/guidance?

Thank you

Jon (CHDCA)
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Welfare Benefits, Craven CAB, N Yorks

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As is often the case with UC, when we’ve raised this issue the answer is framed in the context of what is technically possible, rather than what is legally correct.

Depending on which DWP contact we speak to, a digital claim can either:
- possibly be converted to non-digital by some fraught over-writing process, but only before the end of the first assessment period; or
- can’t be converted at all.

EqA duties and deteriorating conditions seem only to have been catered for, to the extent that DWP say they won’t ‘renege on their commitment’ to provide ongoing support to those who need help to manage an online claim.

wbamic
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Mind in Croydon

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Sorry to bump this thread. 

I was just wondering if anyone has any practical experience of switching from an online claim to a telephone claim?  The Job Centre are stating that the original online claim will have to be closed and a new telephone claim be made. 

The issue is coming to a head because the client has had several changes of circumstance that needed to be updated.  We are being told that the change of circumstance won’t be updated on a online claim via the telephone.  Call handlers have attempted to do a work around on this but we are not getting anywhere. 

The client is not aware of any of the log in details on his current claim and can’t enter the job centre to pick up a PSN. 

The client can’t visit the job centre at all so we are very reluctant to start a new claim , plus he faces the possibility in underpayments from the old claim if it was to be closed.

Will i be wasting everyone’s time to try and fight to get the current online claim changed into a telephone claim?

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Citizens Advice Bridport & District

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This is a very recent DWP response to a FOI asking that very question.

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

acg
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greenwich council welfare rights service

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As far as I can see it does not answer the question! Am I missing something?

Jon (CHDCA)
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Welfare Benefits, Craven CAB, N Yorks

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Will i be wasting everyone’s time to try and fight to get the current online claim changed into a telephone claim?

Not sure, the most recent opinion I’ve seen is that it’s not going to happen after AP1. If you haven’t quickly got this escalated to someone at JCP who can give you a definitive answer, I suspect reclaiming will be the easier option. If you have no route in, could be the sort of issue that an MP could swiftly escalate?

As far as I can see it does not answer the question! Am I missing something?

Don’t think so, the response entirely misses the point of the question.

There is a large and growing caseload of online UC awards. DWP apparently has no proper mechanism to convert them to telephone claims. There will inevitably be changes of circs where for some people converting them would be the obvious reasonable adjustment e.g. when a claimant has a deterioration in health and can no longer cope with IT. I don’t know if DWP has plans to do anything about this.

Ros
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I don’t see any legal reason why a new claim shoud be needed because of a change to managing the claim by telephone - especially doesn’t seem right if your client would miss out as a result. Maybe email CPAG at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and see what they reckon?

Daphne
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Have you tried formally requesting the change as a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act - there’s a draft one here - https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/13087/ - it’s for JSA but you could adapt it. If you request under the Equality Act they have to reply as I understand it.

You might fine the Practical Equality Rights online handbook useful too - https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/12894/

wbamic
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Mind in Croydon

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Thank you all for the responses.  I will give the idea that Daphne has suggested a go.  Will update on the response!

MM1235
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Advisory Team, Money Matters, Glasgow

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Not sure if this adds much but ....

I put a note on a client’s journal (at the start of an online claim) saying that the client could not use a computer/access the journal etc and - please make arrangements. I also asked that the adviser discretionary fund be used to provide the claimant with a smartphone.

Shortly after that I got a phone call from the DWP saying that the claim was being closed and turned into a phone claim (no change to date of claim; I checked).


Jane

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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