Published On: Mon, Mar 23rd, 2020

Universal Credit: Coronavirus can make claims difficult – this is how it can be delegated | Personal Finance | Finance

Universal Credit supports people who have fallen on financial difficulties. These can include if a person has lost their job, has low levels of income or they have limited options due to health conditions. As coronavirus took hold of the country, the government stepped in to alter the system and reduce the need for physical applications.

Up until recently, claimants were expected to physically attend assessment meetings at a JobCentre plus to ensure they were eligible for Universal Credit payments.

However, as coronavirus became more serious the government temporarily abolished the need to have face to face meetings.

As it stands, all Universal Credit claims can be handled online or over the phone.

This will likely be a relief for many but unfortunately, there are some who may still need extra help.

READ MORE: Universal Credit to rise in coronavirus crisis – how much is increase?

The government detail that a person can ask another person or organisation to deal with a Universal Credit claim.

This can be done if the claimant finds that they are unable to find the information that’s needed or understand things about the claim itself.

It is possible to do this at any point during the claim.

There are certain permissions that the claimant must give before this can be done however.

Explicit consent can be provided in writing, over the phone or face to face and the claimant must do the following:

  • give consent for their personal information to be shared with the representative
  • outline what information they want to be disclosed
  • explain why the information is needed
  • explain the representative’s relationship to themselves where the representative is a family member or friend
  • give the name of the representative and/or the organisation, including the branch where applicable. If the claimant cannot provide the name of the representative, they need to be as specific as possible, for example they should provide the representative’s job role or team name within the organisation

Assigning a Universal Credit claim to somebody else will likely be relieving for many people. However, explicit consent will not last forever.

In most cases it will only last until either the specific request is completed or the end of the assessment period.

These rules will likely be relaxed given the current context but claimants should still be aware of this if they choose to take this route. Support will be available but a certain level of admin and management will likely be needed.

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