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21 April, 2020 Open access

New video relay service launched for deaf claimants accessing universal credit

DWP advises that BSL interpreted calls can be made via tablet, smartphone, computer or laptop without booking in advance

The DWP has launched a new video relay service for deaf claimants to use when accessing universal credit.

The video relay service - which can be used either to help make a new claim or for those already claiming universal credit - allows users to make British Sign Language (BSL) video calls via their tablet, smartphone, computer or laptop, and a professional interpreter then relays the call in English to a member of DWP staff. The DWP adds that there is no need to book the service in advance and the conversation takes place in real time.

Commenting on the service - which is part of a package of measures put in place to provide quicker and easier access to benefits during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak - the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Justin Tomlinson said - 

'With more than 1.4 million people accessing universal credit in these unprecedented times, this technology will provide vital and equal accessibility for Deaf people and those with hearing loss.

It is fantastic to see concern for increasing accessibility going right to the top and I am delighted that we are championing this cause for people accessing the welfare safety net'

For more information see New video service for deaf claimants accessing Universal Credit from gov.uk