During the first lockdown people receiving benefits were not required to attend JobCentre appointments - alternative arrangements had been put in place.
In July 2020 the Department began the process of reopening Jobcentres but with a limited service.
- People applying for Universal Credit, Employment Support Allowance or other benefits should not go to a JobCentre but apply for them online.
- Members of the public will not be admitted into JobCentres unless they are directed to do so with a booked appointment.
- 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.
‘You do not need to attend the jobcentre unless we ask you to do so. If you need to contact us the quickest way to do this is online or by phone. If you need to attend a jobcentre, they are open and one of our colleagues will be able to assist you. You will be required to wear a face covering when entering a jobcentre, unless you are in an exempt category. Please also follow the latest government guidance on meeting with others safely and local restrictions.'
Jobcentre opening hours
From Monday 18th January 2021, Jobcentre opening hours will be 10am to 2pm. This temporary change due to the situation with the second wave of the pandemic.
Helpline opening hours are unchanged.
Universal Credit: Lost Personal Security Number?
Normally someone who's lost their UC PSN card and can't remember the number has to attend an interview at the JobCentre. . We have been advised that for vulnerable claimants unable to ask for help on their journal (eg because they are an offline claimant or are temporarily unable to go online) then, if their local JobCentre is closed, if they, or their support worker, rings the number on the JobCentre door, they will be given assistance and be able to get a new number.
If that fails, they should try the UC helpline.
Telephone calls from the DWP to claimants
The DWP has sent this message to claimants - to help them to recognise calls from the DWP and not block them.
"We know that many people are cautious of answering these calls for security purposes. To assist you in recognising a call from Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) either the Jobcentre or Service Centre, a new telephone number will appear on your phone from 06/05/2020 when we call you. It is 0800 023 2635.
For ease, we suggest you add this number to your contacts and rename it to ensure you recognise when we are calling. You will not be able to call us on this number; it is an automated message only.
The contact number to call Universal Credit has not changed, it is 0800 328 5644.
We hope the introduction of this new service will allow us to communicate with you more safely from now on."