Don't know where to turn - Universal Credit

Hello.  Both myself and partner have our own businesses in retail which have been crippled by the downturn so out income is well below our outgoings and were sinking.  My partner is really ill and has been for years (cluster headaches, stroke and now potential gastric problems) and her mental health is suffering hugely to the point of approaching breakdown.  I have tried to apply for Universal Credits but they need myself and partner to go to the job centre for identity confirmation but by partner just cant do it, even the though of it is causing huge panic and distress so is just a no go.  They have basically said, no job center, no help.  I just don't know what to do, we're sinking and i dont see any way out of it.  Can anything be done?
Thanks
Mark

Replies

  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    Hi Mark, sorry you are struggling. First thing: you should probably change your username to something more anonymous as you are discussing your partner's health on a public forum. 

    Your partner should be able to have the interview over the phone, but the interview itself will be stressful. They are not supposed to be stressful, but your partner is vulnerable and is almost certain to find it so. You should try to help her be ready for the questions they ask which will be about your business, her ability to look for work, and her ability to actually do any work. If she is not able to work in the business, she is also unlikely to be able to take paid employment, She will need to send the DWP a ‘fit note’ from her doctor. The fit note confirms her disability and/or health conditions to the DWP. If she is unable to go to the doctors because she is too stressed, I would call her GP and insist that they come up with a solution, which might be a referral to mental health crisis service that will come out to visit her at home. They should be able to get her well enough to get to the GP for a fit note.    

    You can review what will be asked at the interview here: Going to your Universal Credit interview - Citizens Advice 

    If the Jobcentre will not do an interview over the phone, you should call the Universal Credit helpline and ask for this. The DWP are supposed to make reasonable adjustments for anyone with a disability. The Universal Credit helpline number is 0800 328 5644.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • edited 9 February at 5:57PM
    MuttleythefrogMuttleythefrog Forumite
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    edited 9 February at 5:57PM
    Just quickly in addition to the advice above... as you're sorting out Universal Credit (and possibly help with council tax - refer your local council for council tax support)... it sounds like looking into a possible claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP - a disability benefit that can be paid regardless of means and working status) might be worth while. Good luck.
    "Do not attribute to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by incompetence" - rogerblack
  • tomtom256tomtom256 Forumite
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    Just ask for a home visit, ID verification is now mainly done via a face to face appointment with documentary evidence.
    Should have a home visit in around a week or so.
    However if you are both self-employed, you will both need to attend a gateway intervention appointment and these can only be done face to face as it's an evidence gathering appointment and the visiting team are not trained to complete this type of appointment.
  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    tomtom256 said:
    Just ask for a home visit, ID verification is now mainly done via a face to face appointment with documentary evidence.
    Should have a home visit in around a week or so.
    However if you are both self-employed, you will both need to attend a gateway intervention appointment and these can only be done face to face as it's an evidence gathering appointment and the visiting team are not trained to complete this type of appointment.
    Partner is still entitled to reasonable accommodations if she is disabled by her ill health.  Would there be anything that could be done?  One home visit team member plus one self-employment work coach?  Video call, then post paperwork - or perhaps OP attend the appointment with all the paperwork and video call partner to participate? 

    It would just be ridiculous that someone who could not physically attend an appointment could be effectively denied financial help they're entitled to just because the system is too rigid to accommodate the one type of appointment they need.
  • edited 10 February at 8:22AM
    tomtom256tomtom256 Forumite
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    edited 10 February at 8:22AM
    In theory yes, but it's not a quick solution, as the system in place is not fit for purpose. The self-employed work coach would have to seek specialist advice from a service inovation lead. But we all know how hard it is for DWP to allow reasonable adjustments and unfortunately not all self-employed work coaches now what they can and can't do, as the newer training is shocking.

    Personally I would do it by telephone and get them to email any evidence I need to see. But typical DWP guidance states not to do it that way and not to ask a claimant to email anything in. Bizarre when it's so easy and straightforward to do it that way, especially as UC is a digital service.

    Pre-covid we had the option of doing gateways by telephone or face to face, but they are demanding all are done face to face now and citing prevention of fraud as the reason.

    Forgot to add that most of the team leaders are not trained in self-employment either, which doesn't help.
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