Section: Welfare Benefits

Revealed: What really happens when you call the Universal Credit helpline

Posted 12.10.17
The HuffPost UK: Article link

Note - there is a relevant update at the end of this article.

An exercise by HuffPost UK found that Universal Credit claimants can languish on hold to a government helpline while racking up bills as high as £16, without the option of an immediate call back, contradicting claims made today by Downing Street.

One call placed by HuffPost UK to the dedicated 0345 number took 12 and a half minutes to be answered in person, at which point an adviser refused to call back straight away due to data protection rules.

The call would have cost some Universal Credit claimants more than 11% of their weekly allowance, which is meant to "help with living costs".

According to the article, a spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions told HuffPost: "Most people claim Universal Credit online, but for those who want to call us, they are charged at local rates which are free for many people as part of their call package. We offer to call people back at no charge."

Update - 17.10.17

Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke confirmed that the Government has now decided to scrap fees for the Universal Credit helpline and it will be free to use within a month.


Quick Links

Updated 24.10.17

  • Anthony Collins Solicitors: The High Court has held that the benefit cap unfairly discriminates against lone parents of children under the age of two and those children
  • National Landlords Association: Two in ten landlords willing to house Universal Credit tenants
  • 24housing: Conservatives prepared to rebel against Universal Credit rises
  • Keyfacts

    Keep up-to-date with issues affecting the social and affordable housing sectors

    News and views reported in summary format, with links for further reading

    Recognisable sub-sections for easy access - now and at a future date

    An essential free resource for anyone with a busy daily schedule

    Enter your email address to receive our e-newsletters advising on updates to KeyFacts

    We will not share your email address with others or use it for any other purpose

    Reporting on October 2017

    Site Sections

    Bookmark and Share

    Archive Issues Reporting Periods