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Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 19th November 2018.

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Photo of Laura Pidcock Laura Pidcock Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what is the legal basis for her Department's guidance stating that universal credit claims should be closed one day after a claimant fails to attend a claimant commitment appointment.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Welfare Reform Act 2012, Section 4(1) (e), states that it is a condition of entitlement to Universal Credit that a claimant accepts a Claimant Commitment.

Where a claimant has failed to attend an interview for the purposes of accepting a Claimant Commitment, their claim will be closed. We will notify the claimant that their claim has been closed and that they can phone or write to the Department to ask us to explain our decision and/or if they disagree with the decision, to ask us to look at the decision again.

After the Department has looked at decisions again, there is a process known as Mandatory Reconsideration which is where an application for revision of a Universal Credit decision is considered by a Decision Maker. If claimants still disagree with the outcome they can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal.

Should there be any indication that the claimant is vulnerable we will seek to understand why the claimant failed to attend, and to explain the consequences of not re-engaging immediately. We will seek to make contact with the claimant and give them the opportunity to show good reason for non-attendance.

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