Lost in Universal Credit
Nobody said it was easy
No one said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start.
Coldplay’s wailing in another context sums up our adviser’s recent experience of helping a client claim contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.
This isn’t covered by Universal Credit but she lives in an area where full UC has been rolled out.
The case underlines the difficulty of ensuring people get the benefit they’re entitled to during the never-ending roll-out.
Especially if, like our client, their digital skills aren’t great.
The labyrinthine process went something like this…..
- Client had tried to claim contribution-based ESA and been incorrectly told by DWP to claim UC. She is confused and nervous and asks us to help.
- Our benefits specialists tell us this is a known problem and give us the correct procedure according to the DWP’s own guidelines.
- We phone the UC helpline. They confirm they have to email a specific form for the client to complete.
- We help her print off the form which contains a dedicated number she must phone to arrange an appointment with the Job Centre.
- She goes home to fill out the form and make the call.
- The following day she emails us: when she called the number she was told it was no longer in use.
- We suggest she call the UC helpline but contact us again if she’s not successful.
- Some days later she reports she has attended an appointment and is now awaiting the outcome.
In a research report on UC this month Citizens Advice called on the government to simplify the process and improve support for people making a claim.