- The claim for UC is made once the claimant has pressed the submit button - for couples it is when the last member of the couple does this.
- Once the claim is made the DWP will then require the claimant (both claimants if a couple) to verify their ID.
- As long as they both do so successfully within a month of making the claim then they will be paid from the date they submitted their claim
- An Advance Payment cannot normally be made until the claimant's (both claimants if a couple) ID has been verified - but this seems to have been lifted at the moment.
- ID verification can be done online, although this doesn't work for everyone.
- Where someone has used the Government Gateway in the last 12 months to access their Personal Tax Accounts, including to check their tax credits, send a personal tax return, or check their state pension are now be able to use their existing Government Gateway account to confirm their identity, helping to speed up their UC claim.
- Those who can't verify their ID via the online system will be contacted by the DWP, if this is necessary to complete their verification.
Claiming UC and verifying identity
The DWP has changed its procedures due to ‘the unprecedented number of Universal Credit claims’.
Previously, claimants were asked to ring the DWP if they could not get their ID verified online, but from 9th April 2020, the arrangements are different.
After making an online claim for UC there is no need to call the DWP/UC Helpline – even if the claimant has not been able to get their ID verified online.
New information on gov.uk says,
‘there is no need to call us. If we need to check any information provided as part of your claim with you – we will call you.....
We will know that you have applied and will contact you if we need any more information from you to process any payment you are due. We will put a note into your online account and follow up with a phone call – this may appear as a private number. Please check your online account and look out for calls from us.'
Using the Government Gateway
As people apply for Universal Credit, they will have the option to submit their Government Gateway credentials which the DWP will use to progress their claim. This should be possible if they have used the Government Gateway in the last 12 months to access their Personal Tax Accounts, including to check their tax credits, send a personal tax return, or check their state pension.
Watch out for scams!
DWP will never text or email asking for personal information or bank details.
Calls from the DWP will no longer show up as ‘Withheld Number’ when customers receive a call. Instead, the DWP number 0800 232 635 will be shown.
The gov.uk information advises,
'Please note, there are scams preying on people, so do not share information if you’re not sure the call is from DWP. If you are in any doubt, please ask the caller to post a specific form of words into your journal so you can be sure it’s us.'
You have one month to verify Identity!
Verifying identity is an essential part of claiming UC, however the Regulations allow one calendar month to do so.
We have heard some reports of claimants receiving messages requiring them to verify their identity within 7 days, however a claim should not be closed before a full calendar month has been given.
Ways to verify ID
Online – The preferred option for those who can. There are reports of long delays waiting for an online ‘slot’ to verify identity. It is advisable to have as many official documents as possible to hand to verify ID online, such as P60, driving license, passport, wage slip etc etc
The DWP YouTube video on this gov.uk page
takes you through the process, however it is from before the Coronavirus Pandemic so does refer to attending the job centre if unable to verify - for the time being this is replaced by a telephone interview.
At the JobCentre – Not for most (if any). JobCentres have been closed and 'Only the most vulnerable claimants who cannot access DWP services by other channels will be invited to attend, with the public urged to use online services.'
Those who would before have booked an appointment to verify ID at a JobCentre will have their ID verified over the phone.
Over the Phone - The DWP will call the claimant. This is an interim measure while JobCentres are closed.