One Login could help widen Irish claimants’ access to Universal Credit, DWP minister claims

Pensions minister claims that the DWP’s adoption of the new government sign in tool could enable those with Irish or Northern Irish documents to verify their identity while claiming UC

The new government-wide system for citizens to prove their identity and access services could help make it easier for Irish and Northern Irish claimants to access benefits administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, ministers have claimed.

In a recent written parliamentary question, Claire Hanna, the Social Democratic and Labour Party MP for Belfast South, asked the DWP whether or not the department is “taking steps to help tackle issues with using Irish passports and Northern Ireland driving licences for online verification for Universal Credit”.

In response, pensions minister Paul Maynard claimed that the department’s upcoming adoption of GOV.UK One Login could help address the current issues with obtaining verification via Irish or Northern Irish documents.

“The new national digital identity GOV.UK One Login will enable citizens to use Northern Ireland driving licenses and Republic of Ireland passports when proving their identity online, where this is appropriate,” he said.

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One Login was developed by the Government Digital Service and, in timelines set out a year ago by the Cabinet Office-based tech unit, the DWP was slated to begin a gradual rollout around the end of 2023. Maynard’s comments appeared to suggest that, while the process of implementation is imminent, it has been delayed somewhat compared with the schedule previously unveiled by GDS.

“DWP are working towards a convergence plan for GOV.UK One Login,” he said.” However there are no confirmed dates yet for when this will be implemented for Universal Credit.”

The adoption of One Login by the department will be one of the primary drivers of uptake of the system by citizens – an estimated 20 million of which receive benefits from or otherwise engage with the DWP at any given time. There are currently four million registered users of the new government-wide login system; GDS hopes to grow this figure to more than 30 million by the end of 2024.

Sam Trendall

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