I’ve called on the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to review and speed up the process for initial Universal Credit claims.

In a question to the Minister of State for Employment, I highlighted the difficulties that claimants without photo ID face in waiting for an initial appointment with an advisor at the job centre. I said “Constituents who can’t afford a driving licence or a passport cannot do the initial online verification of their Universal Credit claim, meaning they have to wait up to 2 weeks in order to be seen for a personal appointment. This is driving people to loan sharks in some cases. Will the Minister look into this?”

I have heard local examples of claimants who are unable to complete online verification for Universal Credit claims having to wait a minimum of 10 days for a face to face appointment with an advisor. This is driving some residents into debt as they cannot even apply for an advance payment, let alone the benefit they are entitled to. I’d like to see the Government review the system to ensure that claimants can apply for an advance at the initial contact stage, which would go some way to reducing the threat of debts

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