Universal Credit applications will not pull through existing claimant data
DWP minister Justin Tomlinson claims department wants to ‘avoid transferring errors from legacy benefits’
Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Archive/PA Images
The Department for Work and Pensions has decided that applications for Universal Credit will not pull through existing data held on claimants’ circumstances.
In a written parliamentary question, Labour MP Hugh Gaffney asked whether the DWP had considered the “potential merits of using existing data to pre-populate” applications for UC in cases where the department already knows the claimant is terminally ill or suffering from a condition that entirely prevents them from working or preparing to return to work.
In response, DWP minister Justin Tomlinson said that the department “has no plans” for applications to automatically pull through these details – or any other information. This decision has been taken “for a number of reasons”, he added.
- No way of determining value or efficacy of Universal Credit – but DWP has ‘no practical alternative’ but to press on, NAO concludes
- DWP legacy migration ‘will take many years’
- Non-digital access to Universal Credit needs promotion, minister admits
“We want to ensure data is accurate and up-to-date to avoid transferring errors from legacy benefits to the Universal Credit system,” Tomlinson said. “Furthermore, the legacy system does not have all of the information needed for a Universal Credit claim. Implementing a claim on inaccurate data will lead to inaccurate awards and claimants not receiving the money they are entitled to.”
He added: “It is also important to note that not everyone will want to move on to Universal Credit and the Department cannot simply assume that all existing claimants want to claim Universal Credit.”
However, Tomlinson said the DWP will use details of “existing decisions or verification to make aspects of the process easier” for claimants and, where possible, remove the need to repeat interactions.
“For example, if a claimant has an existing Work Capability Assessment decision, there will be no requirement to have another assessment in order to receive the disability elements of Universal Credit,” he said. “Also, for claimants who do not have any work-related requirements, we already operate a digital claimant commitment acceptance process and we will carry that forward when moving claimants over to Universal Credit without a change in circumstances.”
Phased return begins but numbers of civil servants returning to the office will be limited
As many as 20 roles available in Newcastle and Manchester
Most department staff have remained onsite during pandemic, although some ‘ad hoc’ arrangements have been made
Government unveils package of £700m to support post-Brexit border arrangements as it launches major comms campaign