DWP forces universal creditors to pose for photo with newspaper
They then asked for “a photo of you outside the front door (open behind you) to the property you live in.” Have someone take this from the street so the whole property can be seen.
“A picture of you stood next to your street sign with you[r] right hand holding it. Have someone take this photo from a few feet away so that the background is clearly visible.
âA photo of you holding your local newspaper for the area where you live (not a national tabloid newspaper). It should be dated the same day you upload the photo.
The last point is “what the kidnappers are doing,” PILC said.
The person may still be required to attend a job center meeting even after providing the requested photos “before any consideration for award. [their] universal credit, âthe post said in the newspaper.
âOn the first lockdown, we suspended face-to-face verification,â tweeted Neil Couling, general manager of the Universal Credit Program, when PILC posted a screenshot of the diary entry.
âBefore Covid, in cases where there was any doubt, we called people in Jobcentres. Initially, we used a “Trust and Protect” approach [when verifying claimantsâ identities].
âWe knew some would abuse it, I was very open about it, but it was for the greatest good. But we always said we would go back and check it out. And that’s part of it, as the restrictions do not yet allow us to fully utilize our Jobcenters.
“It is therefore a temporary process, linked to the restrictions to which we are still subject. Eventually, we will be able to return to interviews in Jobcenters in case of doubt about the identity. There is therefore nothing to fear. here for applicants, they can engage with confidence.
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Couling referred to an annual DWP report released in July that warned that identity theft led to around 4,000 people being asked to return money they didn’t claim in the first place.
The instructions published in the Universal Credit Journal did not indicate what the applicant should do if they did not have access to a smartphone, could not get help from another person to take the photos in the time limit, could not reach their local road sign, if a local daily was not published in their area or if they could not afford to buy one.
âThis type of communication only shows how totally the DWP is totally out of touch with the experience of people living with low income,â Benjamin Morgan, research and communications coordinator at PILC, told The Big Issue after the organization client receives the instructions.
âThere are a range of reasons – ranging from disability to not having a permanent address – why applicants might reasonably find it impossible to meet these conditions.
âOwning universal creditors in this way is both humiliating and dehumanizing. “
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When a person successfully enrolls in universal credit, they face a five-week wait for a first payment, which has been blamed for rising poverty and reliance on food banks.
The 5.2 million people currently claiming the allowance will receive their first reduced payment in the coming weeks after the government slashed the universal credit by Â£ 20 per week, taking Â£ 1,040 from applicants’ annual earnings.
The DWP has been approached for further comment.