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Universal Credit process too complex for applicants

This news post is about 6 years old

Rejected applications are blamed on an overly complicated process

One fifth of Universal Credit applications are being rejected because of an overly complicated application process.

Requests were analysed for a month as part of a Freedom of Information exercise showing that one fifth failed because of “non-compliance with the process.”

Non-compliance could mean failing to book an interview within six days or not contacting the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) helpline to set up an interview within a week of making an application.

Some 6% of applications were ended because applicants failed to sign a “claimant commitment” setting out the conditions of their payment while a further 4% had their application closed for failing to attend an interview at a jobcentre.

Welfare campaigners say most of these failings could be put down to lack of information and confusion with the process rather than non-compliance.

Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions select committee, said that the complexity of the system was a “mega issue” and his committee would be investigating. “I have tried to enrol myself for universal credit and failed,” he said. “I wonder if the ministerial team have tried.”

A spokesman for the DWP said: “It may be they’ve found higher-paying employment and no longer need support.

“Almost 800,000 people have already applied for universal credit successfully, and anyone struggling with the process can call the helpline or visit their local jobcentre, where staff will help them.”