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Universal credit - do I need Universal Jobmatch to get paid?

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This is my first post so apologies if there is anything wrong with it.

 

I was asked to attend my local JC for a chat about Universal credit as it is being rolled out here soon. I was told I need a bank account with DD etc to pay bills (at the moment I only have a basic one) and that I must open a Universal Jobmatch account or I won't get paid. When I tried to explain that I have bad credit the personal coach said I was 'fighting the system' and that I should stop.

 

They also want me to give them access to it so they can see that I am 'making an effort'.

 

I am on ESA, WRAG and thought that they could not force me to look for work. I am epileptic and cannot use a computer for any length of time (a friend is typing this for me).

 

I have a partner and young child so I am terrified of having no money to pay bills or feed them.

 

Can they insist on my opening a UJ account and what will happen to me if I cannot use it regularly?

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It is not the place of the DWP to give you instruction on financial matters, they are not qualified nor licensed for such matters. How you pay your bills is a private matter between yourself and your suppliers. if an adviser raises the issue again ask them if they are approved and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - The answer will be "no", so that should be the end of the matter.

 

As for the UJM, they can ask you to set up an account and use it a certain number of times as part of a "Claimant Commitment", although I am unsure of how a CC relates to an ESA claim. However, they can not insist on you granting access nor can they dictate how you present evidence of job search activity - If the adviser presses the issue, instruct them to read the Universal Jobmatch Manual and the advisory notes issued by the PCS union.

 

Hopefully someone will be along shortly to give advice about Universal Credit and ESA claimants - Pretty sure the rules are different, but I've not had to deal with UC myself.


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I was told I need a bank account with DDlink3.gif etc to pay bills (at the moment I only have a basic one)

 

Nothing to add to what Mr P said except to emphasise that this is outrageous. The DWP should not be telling you that you must pay your bills by DD.

 

The only thing I can think of is that UC can only be paid into a bank account. Can your account accept automated credits?


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Thank you both for replying.

 

Yes, my basic account accepts automated credits, my ESA and DLA is paid into it. At the moment my partner pays the DDs, I give her the cash and the payments go out from her account. I think this 'advice' has more to do with the DSS worrying that we will all rush out and spend the rent on flat screen TVs and booze - after all, The Sun says we do so it must be true.

 

I am really annoyed that they have not been straight with me, they gave me the impression that if I couldn't show I had the right sort of bank account then I wouldn't get paid.

 

I have tried to open an account with Halifax but they said they needed more ID. I don't drive and have never been abroad so don't have a Passport so not sure what else I can do, I showed them the tenancy agreement, utility bills, benefits letters etc.

 

The jobcentre coach said I should get a passport because I would need one if I found a job (?) but I don't have £80 + to spare.

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As long as you have a UK bank account (it does not even have to be a current account), the DWP can make payments - If anyone suggests otherwise, ask them to print out the legislation that says they can't.

 

As for a passport - It is a useful document to have, but it does not prevent you from working. A potential employer is required to verify that you are entitled to work in this country - A birth certificate is usually sufficient.


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I'd expect there to be something in the UC system where councils would automatically take their rent and council tax payments from our UC account as soon as the money is paid in - a sort of 'you-have-no-choice automatic direct debit', so that we drunken workshy layabouts couldn't immediately draw it all out, spend it on booze and fags and skip the rent.

 

Are they really going to pay JSA/ESA/Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit as cash into people's accounts and trust them to pay their bills? Most of us will but as we all know they base their decisions on the few bad apples.

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I don't get why you need a passport though

 

National insurance card, birth certificate and photo ID are usually fine for most places

 

I don't have a passport and they've never decided to mention passports at jobcentre

 

It sounds like you got a bad egg dealing with you

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National insurance card, birth certificate and photo ID are usually fine for most places

 

 

 

I think it is the photo ID that is the issue, I don't have any and the job coach seemed to think I could just spend around £80 and solve that - I would rather feed my family.

 

I am more concerned with what their plans are with this compulsory UJM account. My Epilepsy is quite severe and I cannot be around computer screens for long before I have a fit. They already made me attend a computer course and I collapsed in the building, the guy in charge sent me home and I was ill for days afterwards.

 

According to the CAB website there are degrees of what they can insist you do and one of them is the 'no work-related requirement group'. I fit the descriptors (I think) but the JC coach didn't mention anything about this.

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My passport ran out last year and I have not renewed it as I cannot afford a holiday abroad. If they insist you have one the answer is "fine, please pay me the £90 or whatever it is and I will get one - oh, and you can also pay for my photo's to be done as well, so a round £100 should suffice"

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Unfortunately the rules regarding UC are a bit vague, and we don't have many people here on the forum with direct experience. So much of what we say will be, well, "informed speculation" I suppose.

 

They probably can insist that you create a UJM account, but they absolutely cannot insist that you allow them access to it. As an ESA claimant (and presumably as a UC claimant based on illness/incapacity) you cannot be mandated to apply for jobs, take part in compulsory unpaid work, or undertake medical treatment and anything you are required to do must be reasonable under your circumstances.

 

Apart from the bogus financial advice, it sounds like the JCP adviser was treating you as if you were moving from JSA to UC, and not ESA.


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My passport ran out last year and I have not renewed it as I cannot afford a holiday abroad. If they insist you have one the answer is "fine, please pay me the £90 or whatever it is and I will get one - oh, and you can also pay for my photo's to be done as well, so a round £100 should suffice"

 

All good points, but OP should note that having a passport is not a condition for receipt of benefits.


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All good points, but OP should note that having a passport is not a condition for receipt of benefits.

 

Agreed, but.... If the JCP adviser is of the opinion that not having a passport is restricting someone's ability to find work, why not get them to pay for it :nod:

 

Maybe a question to throw at one of the Work Programme providers...


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I did actually ask her if there was a grant I could apply for to get a passport if it was so essential but she said no. Although she did say it might be possible to claim if I found a job.

 

I had a meeting with a lady from Family Mosaic, which is a sort of cross between Sure Start and the CAB. I told her about my visit to the jobcentre. She used to work for the DWP and she phoned my local office and said to them "You do realise mr Unheard is on ESA, not JSA?" Their response was along the lines of: "It will all come under the umbrella of Universal Credit". She tried to point out that there are still different types of entitlement but they didn't seem to think so.

 

It is beginning to look to me as though the staff have not got a proper grasp of how things are supposed to be and I can see a lot of misinformation being applied and acted upon.

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It is beginning to look to me as though the staff have not got a proper grasp of how things are supposed to be and I can see a lot of misinformation being applied and acted upon.

 

I've just looked over the material the DWP have published in their Universal Credit partner toolkit - Couched in gooey chocolate covered double-speak, most of what I read leaves me wanting to strangle someone.... In a nutshell, all Universal Credit claimants must sign a "Claimant's Commitment" which is tailored to the individual's needs - Heard that one before with promises that the Work Programme offers tailored support - There is precious little information about existing ESA claimants transitioning to UC in the toolkit from the DWP, so it is probably better to look at other sources: http://disabilityrightsuk.org/universal-credit-uc would seem to be a fairly concise guide.

 

UC is paid monthly, and the DWP do seem to be rather keen on driving home the message about budgeting and managing money in their blurb - Makes me think that an outside, private PR company has had their sticky little fingers on the keyboard. In light of recent revelations about government contracts (MoJ contracts awarded to G4S & Serco in particular), I question the moral standards that give the DWP the right to lecture on such matters.


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Thanks for finding that, MrP, I will start looking through it in the morning. The Family Mosaic lady also told me that DWP staff were being given training to advise on financial matters - although beyond "make sure you pay your bills" I can't see what advice they can offer, or how they are going to find the time for individual, in-depth counselling sessions.

 

Maybe they will sell me an ISA! :lol:

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The Family Mosaic lady also told me that DWP staff were being given training to advise on financial matters[...]

Maybe they will sell me an ISA! :lol:

 

Will the DWP compensate claimants should they be found to be giving bad advice ?

Probably not.

 

If you want a cash ISA, I've found a few Credit Unions offer some, and the interest rate is a darned sight better than the high street banks. As an example, my current ISA is returning a little over 3% and the best my bank can offer is under 1%.


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I had a chat with the job centre manager, he said the adviser has done nothing wrong and he too would have pushed for me to get a DD inclusive bank account. I said it's not a job requirement to have a particular type of account.

 

As for ticking the box, he said why not ? Stop moaning about it, it's so they can help to find you the right job one day. I still haven't and I'm not going to. He just kept saying this is the end of the matter and I cannot close the UJM account once it has been opened. The thing that still bothers me is their lack of honesty - I know I should not be surprised, but I am.

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Seems to be their job to push the lies

I'm pretty sure you can close UJM if you wish as I remember reading how to once

Only tick if you feel comfortable doing so

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I managed to "bork" my UJM account.

 

First I forgot my password

 

Then I requested they retreive it. 6 Weeks later they wiped my old ujm account so I could re create it to the email address I was using

 

Then for osme strange reason even though at the time I had the box ticked, they couldnt see anythign I was doing. Went in one day for a normal meeting and the advisor (Who was being watched by her line manager for my meeting) said I had not logged in for months. So I Produced the screen print from the night before.

Never again was I asked about UJM XD


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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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The problem with "ticking the box" is that it gives them access to whatever you put on the UJM site including any CV's, Cover letters etc.

It is apparently NOT mandatory to tick the boa at the current moment but you do need proof as to the fact you have a UJM account to

try to appease the "COUCH, ADVISER...WHATEVER they are called now".

 

But make sure that the rules for UJM concerning ticking that box have not changed recently.

 

As for a passport, cannot see any reason why they should be forcing this on you, in all my years

I have never been asked to show or have a passport when it came to getting a job.

Only real reasons are that it is photo ID or you are planning to get a job which requires you

to work abroad.

 

To me this is another of those "you are placing hurdles" in your search for a job so

we can sanction you for it scenarios.

 

As for UC I am lucky enough that hopefully I will never have to have it.

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[...] it's so they can help to find you the right job one day.

 

The Job Centre does not provide any "help to find the right job". At best, you can expect them to refer you to a private contractor under the guise of the Work Programme or spam you with a vacancy alert that will have also been sent to countless others. At worst, the UJM is a way of monitoring your activity and raising a sanction if an adviser is having a bad day.

 

UJM is just another tool in your arsenal of job seeking equipment - Judge for yourself if you think the vacancies on offer are worthwhile or even genuine. Use it enough times each week to keep the JCP satisfied and make use of other better quality sites. You will find a job eventually, but I doubt it will be a direct result of UJM.


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Agree with mr P

 

I def advise not ticking that box (And unticking it if you have already done so)

 

UJM is a waste of space


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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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You can also 'knack' (as we say here in the grim North) your UJ account by forgetting both your 12 digit gateway number and your password. Forget either one and they'll send it to you, but forget both and they won't send both for security reasons. I had to make a second account when this happened.

 

Don't put up with the 'why won't you give us access?' rubbish; you don't have to give any reason. You either give access or you don't and it's not up for discussion or harrassment by the advisers. UJ is a dismal failure as an employment aid but it's a great sanction device for the JC.

 

I find a couple of jobs a week to apply for from UJ - but only ones hosted by Reed or CV-Library where I can apply via their own websites. Seems to keep the JC happy as I'm technically 'using' UJ and finding jobs (whether they exist or not).

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