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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit migration  →  Thread

Help to Claim and UC telephone claims

Andrew Dutton
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Welfare rights service - Derbyshire County Council

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We are being notified of CABx having to withdraw face to face services, unsurprisingly, and that advice is to be offered by phone and web-chat.

This seems to warrant an opening-up of telephone claiming direct to DWP, but at the moment we are told that their policy is:

‘should a customer declare they either have COVID-19 or are self -isolating then they will be able to make a UC claim via the telephone service. If not then they will need to make a claim the normal way.’

This is far too narrow - there will be plenty of people who aren’t in this situation but for whom the reduction in HTC support will mean inability to claim, or at least claim on time.

We need to press for a far better response than this. Not least because the fraudsters will spot the gap if no-one else does.

Chrissum
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WRAMAS, Bristol City Council

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Quite right Andrew. I am currently looking for some guidance from our local partnership as to how those that can’t access phones (I am thinking of the homeless in particular) can start a claim and whether there is any argument for relaxing backdating and consent rules.

Andrew Dutton
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Welfare rights service - Derbyshire County Council

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sadly, according to post #60 here - https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/15644/P45/

- no change to consent rules.

DWP spybots - ask your bossbots to extract their digital digits, pronto.

Mkfiftyeight
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Benefit Advisor, HARC East Sussex

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Hi Andrew

I thought the CAB help to claim service was only funded to the end of this month. I have not seen anything to say that it will be extended and I am not sure how useful it will be if all CABs close their doors for face to face appointments - many down here in East Sussex have already.

At a push I could help someone make a UC claim without seeing them face to face,  not tried it yet and really not looking forward to it.

Absolutely agree that DWP extending phones claims is a sensible solution, but then again I am not in DWP.

If many independent advice services shut their doors for face to face appointments, I guess the numbers visiting JCP offices could go through the roof. Overtime for DWP!

SallyA
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Welfare Benefits, Citizens Advice Swindon

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Mkfiftyeight - 18 March 2020 04:58 PM

Hi Andrew

I thought the CAB help to claim service was only funded to the end of this month. I have not seen anything to say that it will be extended and I am not sure how useful it will be if all CABs close their doors for face to face appointments - many down here in East Sussex have already.

At a push I could help someone make a UC claim without seeing them face to face,  not tried it yet and really not looking forward to it.

Absolutely agree that DWP extending phones claims is a sensible solution, but then again I am not in DWP.

If many independent advice services shut their doors for face to face appointments, I guess the numbers visiting JCP offices could go through the roof. Overtime for DWP!

Fast moving situation etc but JCP offices are also closing their doors or severely restricting access….
Also a problem with those who do manage to submit a claim - at least one claimant in our area has verified ID online but needs to confirm her bank details by phone (god knows how). The earliest phone appointment they can offer is next Wednesday so no advance till then.

Andrew Dutton
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Welfare rights service - Derbyshire County Council

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There certainly has been a roaring silence about the future of Help To Claim (ref Mike Fiftyeight above) and I was amazed at the lack of any announcement. However, given the current situation….

Some nimble and helpful thinking from DWP is needed. Sort of now.

Benny Fitzpatrick
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Welfare Rights Officer, Southway Housing Trust, Manchester

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“Nimble and helpful thinking” from DWP?

That WOULD be a first!