It has been reported that almost 20% of initial Universal Credit (UC) claims are being closed due to non-compliance with the process. This is happening because claimants:
- fail to book an interview with the Job Centre soon after submitting their online claim
- fail to attend the interview with the Work Coach
- fail to state on their online journal that they accepted the claimant commitment within 7 days of making the claim.
These claimants will receive notification that their claims have failed through their online journal. They will be told that their claim has been closed and will be unable to make an entry into their journal.
What can you do about this?
People who are affected by this process can ask the DWP to reconsider their decision by requesting a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR). You would need to explain in the MR request why you didn’t provide the information or take the required action. In these circumstances you can either do an MR over the phone or hand it in at the local Job Centre who can forward the MR internally to the decision maker. If there are problems with this process you should contact an advice worker for assistance. We are aware that UC helpline staff tell people to do MRs over the phone but the problem with this process is that there may be no record of what has been said and also it tends to mean that advisers cannot get involved.
If the MR is not successful then the claimant can go forward with an appeal against the decision for which you shoudl ask for professional help wherever possible.
In most cases as well as doing the MR and /or appeal you will probably also want to start a new UC claim. UC claims can be backdated but this is only possible in very restricted circumstances and usually it is not possible if an earlier claim has been tried.
There is a lot of evidence at present to suggest that people who are affected by this are not disputing the decisions and this is adding to the normal 5 to 6 week delay before they are paid any UC.