Help to Claim: room for improvement
CARBS advisers help hundreds of people claim Universal Credit. They have built up a deep understanding of client needs and problems.
Their insights show room for improvement in initial access to a crucial safety net for growing numbers.
- Most members of the public don’t know how Universal Credit works. For instance, they don’t understand that being in work or having some savings does not prevent them claiming.
- Government websites can be confusing: there are so many official sources of information. Many people don’t know which one they need and phone any number in the hope of getting help.
- A lot of people who are furloughed or have lost their job are using savings or redundancy payment for day-to-day living and not claiming until they are desperate. They should have claimed much earlier in the process.
- There is a continuing problem for a minority (but still a lot of people) who have no access to a working phone or internet access.
- People are forced to claim online without any real prospect of being able to maintain their account due to lack of equipment or competence.
- People who try to claim using their phones often give up because the interface between websites and handsets is doesn’t work well.
- The Help to Claim website invites users to ‘click’ to ‘talk to an adviser’ implying there will be a phone number to call. When they click, they expect (and in many cases need) to talk to an adviser but the only ‘choice’ is webchat.
We have shared these issues with Help to Claim and Citizens Advice to inform and support ongoing improvements.
Call the national Help to Claim line 0800 144 8444. Or CARBS Adviceline 03444 111 4444. Full CARBS contact details here.