DWP: Coronavirus Touchbase special – 7 May 2020

Roundup of recent DWP announcements

Latest Universal Credit statistics

Wednesday 6 May saw the biggest number of new Universal Credit claims paid in a single day. This was the first payment day for the 135,000 people who made a claim for Universal Credit over the 30th and 31st March. 

Of the eligible claims, more than 9 in 10 have been paid in full and on time. Since the pandemic began, around 1.8 million claims have been made to Universal Credit and almost 700,000 advance payments made to people.

Access to Work – new measures to support customers

To ensure disabled people remain supported in work through this period we have introduced new measures for Access to Work. These include:

  • prioritising new applications from critical workers and those starting work within the next 4 weeks
  • extending the timeframe to submit claim forms to 9 months
  • extending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end, by 6 months
  • accepting employer and support worker signatures via email
  • delivering workplace assessments and Mental Health Support Services via telephone or accessible alternatives.

Information about claiming Universal Credit when you are in receipt of legacy benefits

As part of our continued effort to be transparent and ensure people have the information they need when considering whether or not to make a benefit claim, we have produced a new animation.

The animation informs people in receipt of legacy benefits, like tax credits, that applying for Universal Credit will impact their eligibility for legacy benefits. It also signposts them to a benefits calculator so they can work out themselves whether they would be better off on Universal Credit.

Please feel free to share this animation through your social channels: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

Self-employment and Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a flexible benefit and will adapt to a claimant’s income each month.

If you represent people who are self-employed, it’s important they let us know about any income they have received, so their Universal Credit payment can be processed.

This includes reporting if no income has been received in any given month.

People who apply will be prompted to report their income and expenses in their online account as they get close to their payment date.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

HMRC are contacting customers who may be eligible for the new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The scheme will allow customers to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500, equivalent to three months’ profits.

People can check if HMRC think they are eligible for the scheme by using the new online checker. The checker also gives the date from which they can make a claim.

Pension Credit online service

We’ve introduced a new service so pensioners can now apply for Pension Credit online. This will supplement the existing telephone and postal claim services. It will enable customers to make a claim without having to leave home to post forms or wait to get through on the phone – helping them also to adhere to social distancing and shielding measures.

To ensure security for customers any personal information will be sent direct to DWP. We will also only pay people into the verified account that they get their State Pension paid into.

Post Office card account applications

Applications for Post Office card accounts will end for all customers from the 11 May 2020. This change applies to new claims only and does not affect customers with an existing account.

Customers who are unable to be paid via DWP’s standard method into a bank, building society, or credit union account will be offered payment via HMG Payment Exception Service at new claim stage.