How does an offline claimant receive information about their UC?
Because offline claimants cannot access their journal the DWP need to use other forms of contact.
The alternatives listed include: SMS messaging, mobile or landline, face to face contact and in exceptional cases home visit.
The guidance states that a call back must always be offered any time the claimant calls the DWP.
The DWP should send monthly award statements and any other notifications to the claimant via the claimant's preferred method of communication (eg. by post or phone).
NOTE: Any decisions by the DWP (ie decisions that could be appealed) MUST by law be sent by post as well as by phone - although we are aware this doesn't always happen. See "What if the UC dept refuse..." below
Regulation 51 of the UC etc Decisions and Appeals regs 2013 says:
"51.—(1) This regulation applies in the case of a person (“P”) who has a right of appeal under the 1998 Act or these Regulations.
(2) The Secretary of State must–
(a) give P written notice of the decision and of the right to appeal against that decision"
(P means the claimant).
Internal DWP guidance says:
Claimants should be supported to move their claim online wherever possible. The reason for the claim being made by telephone will be automatically shown in the claimant history to assist with this.
The claimant will not have online access to their claim. Any notifications or notes must still be placed in the journal as normal but in addition the work coach will have to consider what other method of contact to use based on the claimant’s preference.
The case manager will need to be aware that the claimant has no online access to their claim. This will require further communications when messages or notifications are placed in the journal.
The statement must be posted to the claimant because it sets out their legal rights.