Amber Rudd has been Work and Pensions Secretary for less than a month and she’s already shown herself to be unfit for the job. Labour MP Dan Carden, had asked that the roll-out of Universal Credit be halted as claimants were having to apply for a provisional driving license to verify their identity. Rudd called this “Labour scaremongering,” but she’s wrong, oh so wrong.
When applying for Universal Credit you’re asked to verify your identity online via the GOV.Verify service. To do this you need either;
- A valid UK driving license
- A valid UK passport
Now, you should in theory be able to provide answers to some security questions at the jobcentre if you don’t have either of these.
However, it’s become clear not all jobcentre staff are aware of this and are demanding claimants get either of the above documents.
This creates several issues.
- The Universal Credit claim cannot go live without ID verification.
- Therefore, the claimant can’t get an advance because their claim isn’t live.
- Once they’ve received their new ID document, (usually within 6-8 weeks), it’s a FURTHER 5 weeks until their first benefit payment.
- They’ll first need to find the money to pay for; the Licence or passport, ID photos, postage and possibly a counter signature.
Ms Rudd will also be forgetting that the victims of the Windrush scandal might not have ID nor be able to pass manual checks either. Slow clap for Amber.
Full Electronic Verification
The government have ploughed millions into the GOV.Verify system. Take up has been poor and it often simply doesn’t recognised people’s details.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have a target of full electronic ID verification by 2022. So while it may be the case now that manual checks can be done, it’s not going to last forever.
Rudd was keen to point out that claimants will be reimbursed the cost of the document. That’s all well and fine but, she fails to realise that most people applying for Universal Credit don’t have roughly £50 lying around to start with.
Getting something they’ve not needed before isn’t going to be high on their list of priorities.
Disabled people at a disadvantage
Most people would opt to apply for a driving license as that’s the far cheaper option. It’s £34 + costs for a driving licence and £75.50 + costs for a UK passport.
If you’re disabled or have a notifiable medical condition such as Autism, you’d have to go through a DVLA medical application which, believe you me, is a lot longer than 6-8 weeks in waiting time.
Therefore, to get their Universal Credit application live more quickly, a passport is the better option.
But it will cost a lot more and, may also cause difficulties if they’re required to go to an passport interview. eg; travelling when housebound. Not to mention more travel costs.
Hostile Environment V.2
From the get go Amber Rudd has shown she’s not learnt anything from losing her job as Home Secretary.
She used her first outing in the Commons as Work and Pensions Secretary to attempt and discredit the damning UN report on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.
She went after the author, Professor Philip Alston, rather than the report, which in itself was telling.
Now she’s shown herself to not even understand the basics of Universal Credit.
If she can’t understand ID checks, how will she manage to explain “in work conditionality” to claimants moving over from Tax Credits next year?
Like before, she’ll plough on in ignorance anyway. It just goes to show that she’s a true Tory a heart.
Ignorant of the struggles of the everyday citizen and intent on creating a hostile environment for vulnerable people.
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