A Universal Credit (UC) case manager has confessed to the Independent that DWP staff “cruelly close claims” of “tens of thousands of very vulnerable people” and that threats of suicide are a “frequent occurrence”.
The case manager, using a pseudonym, said that lack knowledge about UC regulations by DWP staff “can have an especially devastating impact on care leavers, the disabled and those with mental; health conditions”. He explained that it is often left to charities and support workers to explain the regulations to DWP case managers.
Amongst the allegations made by the claims manager:
- Full-time case managers on average handle in the region of 300 claims each. As a result of the overwhelming caseload, many crucial tasks are not completed “until claimants contact us when their payments are inevitably paid incorrectly or not at all”.
- If a case manager goes on holiday, their claimants are “completely neglected” as staff are told only to send out payments for people they manage themselves.
- DWP staff are told that “claimants are entirely responsible for their own claim”. So the system only alerts staff after a deadline has been missed “allowing us to cruelly close claims and stop that person receiving any money. Tens of thousands of very vulnerable people have their lifeline switched off with a click.”
- Claimants who state that they are facing eviction are “a penny a dozen. We are told that legal proceedings can take months so a claimant is ‘never really facing eviction’. That’s how we’re told to justify it.”
- Staff are well-trained to deal with threats of suicide “simply because it’s such a frequent occurrence”.