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Coronavirus: Universal Credit - ID Verification
Universal Credit - ID Verification
KEY FACTS:

  • 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 a claimant may find that their application has been accepted during the Coronavirus outbreak before verification was complete.
  • 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, who will try and verify their ID over the telephone.

 

Unable to verify identity online

The DWP has changed its procedures due to ‘the unprecedented number of Universal Credit claims’.

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.

The DWP will ring the claimant if they need to verify their ID over the phone.

The gov.uk information advises, 
"If you’re a new customer and are having a problem verifying your identity online do not worry – your claim has been submitted. Your jobcentre will know you have applied online, they will call you if they need to confirm any information with you in order to progress your claim."


Retrospective Verification

Update March 2021: The DWP is now reviewing UC claims which were not verified due to the high volume of new claims being received due to the pandemic.

This FOI response says,

when Universal Credit applications were made in the initial period of the pandemic, customers were advised that their application was being accepted under specific COVID 19 regulations and that the Department would contact them at a later date and ask for evidence to support their application.

We are now re-visiting those cases and are re-applying the verification standards that would have been in place at the time, had it not been for COVID-19. If the evidence does not support the application it will be reviewed and revised to the correct entitlement and, where appropriate, an overpayment calculated and put into recovery


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 or an unknown private number.

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 

There is more information on this gov.uk page which takes you through the process, however it is from before the Coronavirus outbreak so does refer to attending the job centre if unable to verify - for the time being this is replaced by a telephone interview.

Using the Government Gateway - 
When someone applies for Universal Credit they 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.


Over the Phone -
The DWP will call the claimant. This is an interim measure while appointment at JobCentres are limited.

At the JobCentre –
Not for most during the pandemic. Athough JobCentres are now open from 10 am to 2 pm the goverment have said:
'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 instead where possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

I desperately need an Advance Payment - but I can't apply until my ID has been verified - and I can't get through on the phone to get this sorted - what can I do?

Put a note in your journal to request a phone call as soon as possible. Say that you desperately need an Advance. Make sure you allow withheld numbers on your phone (although the DWP have said they have set up a different system) and keep your phone charged and close so you can answer the call when it comes.

The DWP have put extra staff into helping with new UC claims. You will probably find that your Work Coach will call you within days of you making your claim. This will be your New Claim Interview and if you have not managed to verify your ID online, your ID interview too. You can request an Advance Payment at this time.

Have all your information ready for when the DWP call you.

I've lost the laminated card with my Personal Security Number on it - and I can't remember the number. Last time this happened I was told I had to go for an interview at the Job Centre - but it's shut and there are no appointments! I don't have an online account.

The Job Centre should have a number on the front door for emergencies and for people who are vunerable. Try ringing this and tell them your problem - they should be able to help you over the phone.
If they can't help, contact your landlord and ask to speak to a benefits adviser or support worker who will try to contact them for you.
If that doesn't work, ring the UC helpline. It may take you a while to get through.

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