Page 13 - Reforming Benefits Decision-Making -(updated - August 2021)
P. 13

Claimant Support

          The  information, support and advice provided  to claimants about  making and
          challenging benefits  decisions is fragmented,  can be  inaccessible  and is often

          Many claimants have additional needs  and vulnerabilities that  further exacerbate
          these issues.  Claimants with  health conditions, including mental  health  or
          neurodivergent conditions and/or who do not have English as a first language or are
          illiterate face additional challenges engaging with a system that often does not meet
          their needs. In particular, claimants who are digitally excluded  face difficulties
          making and managing their Universal Credit claims due to its ‘digital by default’

          We recommend that a claimant-centred  system is developed, through clearer and
          more accessible communications and provision of information about the process at
          each  stage,  so  that  claimants  understand  what  is  expected  of  them  and  how  the
          process  is working. This  would include using videos to explain processes and
          ensuring that key information is available in a range of clearly and simply expressed

          There  should be a  “no wrong door”  approach to  applying for  and engaging  with
          Universal Credit, including by having meaningful, non-digital channels.

          Early  advice  and  support  is  vital.  We  recommend  reinstating legal aid  for early
          benefits advice, expanding Help to Claim to provide support to people beyond the
          application process and  through a  greater range of  providers, the co-location  of
          advice providers covering related areas of social-welfare problems as well as non-
          legal services, and a single access “portal” directing to welfare benefits advice
          organisations, signposted to from all DWP webpages.  We  also  adopt the
          recommendations of the JUSTICE working party report Understanding Courts for a
          single website point of entry that provides comprehensive, simple, accessible and
          jurisdiction specific  information on the process of going  to  the  Social Security

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