Last month I questioned the DWP Minister, Guy Opperman MP, about the barriers faced by many people with learning disabilities and other cognitive impairments in claiming Universal Credit. It followed reports that I received from Citizens Advice Sheffield that many people, who struggle with online applications for Universal Credit, are not getting the chance to apply through a non-digital route. Others, who begin digital applications with support but cannot manage them independently or whose circumstances change, are not allowed to switch to a non-digital claim.
The exchange in the Commons secured a meeting yesterday with the Head of the Engagement Division for Universal Credit to which I took local Citizens Advice representatives, Tim Arnold and Frances Potter to share the experience of their clients. Tim and Frances made a compelling case for making the criteria and guidance for non-digital routes clearer, and for promoting the option to online applications better.
We were encouraged by the DWP’s response, and their intention to use the examples we provided to review practice. I will continue to work with Tim and Frances on this and wider issues around Universal Credit to try to ensure it works better for claimants in Sheffield.