- 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.
- 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.
Ways to verify ID
The preferred option for those who can. 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
There is more information on this gov.uk page which takes you through the process.
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 –
Jobcentres are open again. Some claimants might need to attend in order to have their ID verified.
Watch out for scams!
The DWP will never text or email asking for personal information or bank details.
The advice is that, if you are in any doubt, please ask the caller to post a specific form of words into your UC journal so you can be sure it’s the DWP.
During 2020 there was a huge increase in new claims for Universal Credit due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The DWP introduced some flexibilities to enable claims to be processed quickly. One of these was not verifying identity at the time of the new claim.
In March 2021 the DWP confirmed that it had started reviewing these UC claims - so claimants have been required to provide evidence to prove their identity retrospectively.
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