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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

Refugee claiming UC without bank account or physical proof of ID

ZoeHBF
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Welfare and Housing, Helen Bamber Foundation (London)

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I’m supporting a client who got refugee status a few weeks ago, and the clock is ticking in terms of when they will receive an eviction notice from the Home Office for their asylum support.

On receipt of his BRP he immediately (before I could advise him not to!) applied for a driving licence and sent the BRP off to DVLA and is now waiting to get it back. This has put a spanner in the works of helping him to claim UC and get the 5 weeks going so that he’s hopefully not got a gap between UC starting and his asylum support finishing, because without a BRP (as his only proof of identity in the UK), he can’t apply for a bank account. Normally I advise and support clients to open an account with Monzo, as Home Office licence agreements are rarely accepted as sufficient proof of address by banks, and for Monzo / Monese you just need the BRP, which he now does not have.

I’ve asked him to keep calling DVLA to try get them to send his driving licence back ASAP but who knows! In the meantime, his only proof of who he is and where he lives is a decent scan of his BRP made by his solicitor, and the Home Office letter addressed to his residential address granting him refugee status.

I’ve read about the Payment Exception replacing the Simple Payment, for people who can’t receive benefits via a bank account which could work if he was already claiming UC (I think) but the issue I’m having is that he can’t submit the UC claim in the first place without a bank account, and he cannot realistically get a bank account (as far as I’m aware) without his actual BRP. Plus, even if he did get a bank account without having his ID physically in his possession, UC would then likely want proof of it, asking for a picture of the front and back, but also a picture of him holding the card up to his face, which he can’t do at the moment!

Just wanted to sense check if there is something obvious I am missing that could help this client and us to help him get a UC claim at least submitted as soon as possible?

BC Welfare Rights
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The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

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Re ID for UC, see http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2021-0349/18_Biographical_checks_v3_0.pdf
edit - sorry, this one http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2019-0980/64._Identity_Verification_v10.0.pdf

Re bank accounts, I’m not sure what the current position is but see https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/14570/ for previous discussion. I would guess that a telephone call to the service centre for current advice would be the first point of call

[ Edited: 28 Sep 2021 at 05:29 pm by BC Welfare Rights ]
Va1der
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Welfare Support Worker - Community Renewal Edinburgh

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There’s no option to say you don’t have a bank account when claiming online, and no access to the journal before the claim is submitted. Instead there’s a prompt on the bank details page to call the helpline.
The logic solution for UC would be to allow the claim without bank details, then wait and see if there’s need for the Payment Exception service or if the client can get a bank account sorted by the end of the AP. Not sure how this works in practice though.

In a pinch the client could submit some generic account details (20-20-20, 00000000 etc), which should technically allow the claim to be submitted, then make a journal note to clarify the situation. I can only think of this being useful where the client is unable to phone in (edit: or visit the JCP), along with concern that backdating won’t apply.

Pete at CAB
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Childrens Centre Adviser, CAB, Camborne

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Va1der - 28 September 2021 09:11 PM

There’s no option to say you don’t have a bank account when claiming online, and no access to the journal before the claim is submitted. Instead there’s a prompt on the bank details page to call the helpline.
The logic solution for UC would be to allow the claim without bank details, then wait and see if there’s need for the Payment Exception service or if the client can get a bank account sorted by the end of the AP. Not sure how this works in practice though.

In a pinch the client could submit some generic account details (20-20-20, 00000000 etc), which should technically allow the claim to be submitted, then make a journal note to clarify the situation. I can only think of this being useful where the client is unable to phone in (edit: or visit the JCP), along with concern that backdating won’t apply.

I’m not sure that using 20-20-20 etc will work, I think the system checks if it is a valid bank account or not. (In fact 20-20-20 is the sort code for a branch of Barclays in Leicester which could lead to all sorts of confusion!)

UB40
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Debt Advice + Community Money Advice Launceston

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Citizens Advice Help to Claim assist refugees making a new UC claim. The plus side of using them is that they have a good relationship with the DWP though not yet based back in Jobcentres. When I was involved with a Syrian resettlement claim there were a lot of hitches with the UC Build which did not recognise refugees and required DWP staff to contact DMs direct to remove ” payment blockers” etc.