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' - they 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 emailed 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 may be made at all. (NB where the housing provider has Trusted Partner Status the landlord's statement of the rent amount is accepted).
- If the claimant has been unable to verify themselves through gov.uk/verify they must make an appointment to verify their ID at the JobCentre, by phoning 0800 328 5644.
- If the claimant does not complete the 'transfer' process, after 14 days their UC award will be suspended then after a further 32 days 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 - but only igf the claimant's circumstances fit the very tight criteria.
- 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?
The Transfer Process starts about three months after the area has become Full Service.
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 shortly 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. This is the Call to Action Interview.
Action - the 'transfer' stage:
The claimant will be given a ‘Call to Action’ letter
when they attend their 'Call to Action' appointment - or sent it if they do not attend. They then have 14 days to:
- 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
And see the internal guidance for Work Coaches "Transfer Live to Full Work Coach Guidance" here.