Yet another Universal Credit problem

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I am trying to apply for child tax credits as part of the suite of benefits that are now wrapped up into UC:
1. It says the site is beta and feedback is useful but as I am logged in there is no mechanism (as there is on the main gov.uk site) to give website based feedback

2. I went through the process of trying to get verified- picking Experian as a company, it took 15 minutes plugging in info and then they couldn’t verify me. This is probably because I moved house a month ago (a fairly standard time for making tax credit claims- when someones circumstances change in that way.). It would have been useful if some of the pre questions asked if you had moved house. I already have lots of bills in my name so a company who can pick this up would be useful.

3. So then I have to go to a job centre to get verified- despite the fact that DVLA can do this online using passport information – so you have my address online already and I am logged through a passport, drivers license and NI no. I also do tax returns so you have me on that system too. But I have to waste my time going to a job centre. I thought this was the age of online?

4. Anyhow I thought I would pop in to make the appointment but the job centre is not empowered to book their own appointments- odd -so another waste of time

5. Then I call up to make an appointment and am warned it is costing me money to make the call I didn’t want to make and telling me about how I can go online via my phone (except not for this process).

6. Having made the appointment I ask how to complain about process and messaging on the site. the man tells me he can only deal with ‘if I am seeing things on my timeline about needing to look for work’ and I must have filled something in wrong and that I have to redial to get to a different adviser – more time wasting


7. The next advisor tells me that I just have to discuss my claimant commitments with the job centre about finding work – it took several go’s to get her to understand that i am not out of work, just applying for tax credits (now called UC but getting mixed up as JSA clearly). She says I haven’t filled anything in wrong and that we all have to make these commitments.

8.It isn’t Ok, in my view to use the language these people use , it comes from a perspective that I am somehow in the wrong and need to make commitments to stop me going astray.

The corporate sector receives £93bn annually in subsidies and there is no ongoing discussion about their “commitments”.

It is confusing and makes me feel like my application is somehow erroneous.

I hope these things can be changed. I think UC could be a good idea in principle if it was tied to a citizens basic income and not to free market fundamentalist thinking.

vive la revolution!

Dr. Gail Bradbrook

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