When an area goes 'Digital' the existing 'Live'/Gateway service Universal Credit claimants will need to get 'transferred' across.
- It is not a transfer as such as the claimant will need to make a new claim for Universal Credit under the 'Full'/Digital service.
- Claimants cannot 'opt out' and must transfer over to the 'Full'/Digital service to continue to receive Universal Credit.
- To make a claim for Universal Credit under the 'Full'/Digital service the claimant will need to have an email address, and a bank account or credit union account in their own name.
- When they make this claim they must tick on the application where it says they are not making a new claim for Universal Credit - this is very important as it identifies to JobCentre staff and the Specialist Transfer Team that the claim is not a new one but a transfer to the 'Full'/Digital service. Scroll down for what happens if they don't.
- The 'Live'/Gateway service claim is closed down - including any Alternative Payment Arrangements (ie to landlord / twice monthly / split payment) and any Third Party deductions - these need to be manually transferred over to the 'Full'/Digital claim.
- A rent verification form will be sent to the landlord (assuming the claimant has answered 'yes' to the question 'Do you pay rent for your home' and provided the correct name of their landlord). Where this differs in any way to the information provided by the claimant regarding their rent /service charges - even by just 1p - the claimant will be given a 'to do' on their journal to amend the details they have input. If they fail to do this no Housing Costs Element can be included in the award - and in some cases (particularly where the claimant or joint claimant works and has a 'work allowance') no payment of Universal Credit will be made at all.
- The claimant will need to verify themselves by phoning 0345 6004272 to make an appointment at the Jobcentre.
- If the claimant does not complete the 'transfer' process, their claim for UC will be closed - and any APA Managed Payment in place will end. They can make a new claim - but the APA Managed Payment will need to be re-applied for and there could be a gap in their entitlement (although they could try for a backdate). (See below for time limits).
- If the claimant does 'transfer' over to the 'Full'/Digital service any APA Managed Payment should be transferred across (see next bullet point) but will be made on a different payment schedule - click here for more details.
- As the 'Full'/Digital service is on a different IT platform to the 'Live'/Gateway service key information will need to be transferred over by the DWP, including:
- Monthly Assessment Period and therefore payday
- Date of claim
- Alternative Payment Arrangements
- Work Capability Assessments
- Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme
What will happen?
Preparation for the 'transfer' - the orientation stage:
The claimant should be made aware of what they will need to do both when they attend their work search interviews and by an 'orientation letter' that will be given to them. If they only have a PO Card Account they will be encouraged to open a bank account.
We have been told that immediately after their payday, the claimant will be asked to attend an interview at the Job Centre. At this interview they will be told that they need to make a claim for Universal Credit under the 'Full' Service - and how they should do this, ie online.
Action - the 'transfer' stage:
- Create an online account (this is like making new claim but is NOT a new claim).
- Book an Initial Evidence Interview.
- Attend the Initial Evidence Interview & provide documents.
As long as they complete all these stages their Universal Credit claim will transfer over to the 'Full'/Digital service. They will continue on the same Monthly Assessment Period
and so receive their payments on the same day.
The 14 days can be extended at the discretion of the work coach / service centre agent if there are specific circumstances – e.g. if additional support is required.
The process is slightly different depending on which conditionality group the claimant is in, and
whether the claim is therefore dealt with at the Service Centre (SC) or in the Jobcentre (JC).
What if the claimant doesn't make a 'Full'/Digital service claim?
If a 'Live'/Gateway claimant does not make a 'Full'/Digital service claim within 14 days (or longer if extended) then their Universal Credit claim will be suspended and they will be sent a letter
- if they fail to respond within 32 days their claim will be closed and a further letter issued.
If they wish to continue claiming Universal Credit they will need to make a new claim - this will trigger a new Monthly Assessment Period
and a wait of one month and seven days until their next UC payment (if they are going to struggle to wait that long they can request a 'new claim advance
If they have to make a new claim with a new Monthly Assessment Period they are likely to receive their Universal Credit payments on a different day than before and may need to reschedule direct debits etc.
If they were on an APA Managed Payment
to their landlord this will end when their 'Live'/Gateway claim is closed and as they did not complete the 'transfer' process, but made a new claim instead - the APA Managed Payment will need to be re-applied for.
There is likely to be a gap between the 'Live'/Gateway claim ending and the 'Full'/Digital claim starting meaning they will have lost out on entitlement. If there were health reasons why they were unable to make the claim under the Digital service then they could request a backdate
Some of this information came from FOI 3128 - here.