Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 11th December 2018.

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Photo of Dawn Butler Dawn Butler Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that universal credit claimants without internet access in (a) Brent Central and (b) England are supported in submitting their claims.

Photo of Dan Carden Dan Carden Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that people who (a) cannot access the internet and (b) are not allowed to access the internet can claim universal credit.

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

Most people claiming Universal Credit will be able to access and navigate the internet, to make and maintain their Universal Credit account. Our published Universal Credit Claimant Survey found that 98 per cent of claimants did claim online, and the majority of those said they found the claim process overall to be straightforward. However, we recognise that some people will need help.

For those requiring help, assistance is available through Universal Support. On 1 October 2018 we announced the Department’s new partnership with Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland, who will fully deliver Universal Support from April 2019. This partnership will ensure we are offering a consistent approach nationally for our most vulnerable customers.

Assisted Digital Support, which is a component of Universal Support, provides help, support and skills claimants need to make and maintain their digital account online. Further support is offered via training courses which claimants are referred to by their work coaches.

Additionally, all jobcentres across the country have Wi-Fi and computers available for claimants to access the internet. For those few that are still unable to access or use digital services, or are not able to travel, assistance to make and maintain their claim is available via the Freephone Universal Credit helpline. The Universal Credit Service Centre will establish the best means of support available, and in exceptional circumstances, a home visit can be arranged to support a claimant in making and maintaining their claim.

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