Ged Killen MP has criticised the Department of Work and Pensions for putting needless hurdles in front of Universal Credit claimants who need to reset their login details.
DWP rules mean that unlike most websites, including banks, details can only be reset in person at a prearranged jobcentre appointment.
The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP said:
“Everyone sometimes forgets their login details, however in most cases, for example with banks and HMRC, passwords can be reset online or over the phone. The Government, however, treats universal credit claimants differently, requiring claimants to travel to their nearest jobcentre for an interview to change their login details if they forget or lose access to them.
“If your bank required you to go to a branch to reset your online login details to access your account, you would leave and join another bank. Unfortunately, for people in my constituency where universal credit has rolled out in full, no such choice exists.”
The strict rules are made more cumbersome by the closure of jobcentre branches across the UK. Ged Killen continued:
“Over 90 Jobcentres have closed since July 2017 and the lack of an online password reset function places a strain on both jobcentres and undue travel difficulties on claimants. Other Government agencies such as HMRC allow passwords to be reset online. Similar to charging universal credit claimants for phone calls the Government has shown once again that it is unwilling to extend basic services to universal credit claimants. “
Mr Killen called on the incoming Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, to adopt a ‘common sense’ approach in future:
“The Government says that it uses “a test and learn approach. We learn from our data and research before features are considered, approved and progressed.” I have written to the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ask what research and data they believe they need to gather before common sense reset password function is approved.
“The new Secretary of State Esther McVey should make it one of her first priorities to introduce an online portal for universal credit claimants and no further jobcentres should close until claimants have easy online access.”