And ministers can’t say when the bonkers blunder will be fixed
Labour MP Ged Killen raised the farcical failure during today’s Prime Minister’s Questions. He asked: “Is the Prime Minister aware that if a Universal Credit claimant forgets their username or password, they must attend a face-to-face interview at a Job Centre to have them reset. “The Secretary of State can’t give a date when this will be fixed.
“So will the Prime Minister commit to no further Job Centre closures until Universal Credit claimants can access basic online functions as available in the case of HMRC and banking?”
Theresa May replied: “I will ask my Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to look carefully at ensuring that a date is identified when that change is going to be made.”
The Universal Credit online system lacking even the most basic functions available on every website follows fury over the system’s phone helpline. When it was launched, claimants experiencing difficulties with their claims had to call an 0345 number – which could cost up to 55p a minute.
Then-Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke was forced to replace the line with a free phone number after public outcry.
Universal Credit, which combines six working age benefits into a single payment, has proved controversial because one in five people are forced to wait more than six weeks for their first payment. Even people paid “on time” have to wait up to six weeks.
The standard wait is being reduced to five weeks [OH WOW] from this month and advance loan payments are being doubled.