DWP maladministration of UC direct payments – latest updateMake Text Bigger
I refer to my open letter to my MP Mr Chris Stephens: Click here to view the original article
To update you, I wrestled with the Dwp back and forth via their formal compliant procedures eg stage 1 (by this email address in Scotland scotland.complaintsresolution firstname.lastname@example.org there is a different one for England and Wales I believe) and stage 2 (by this email address Correspondence @dwp.gsi.gov.uk) but they tried to bluff me away several times over the phone reluctant to put things in writing as they probably know they done wrong but insist they have not done anything wrong.
I persisted with the complaint not letting them get away with it while they (numerous Dwp staffs) keep telling me I’m wrong and they have not broken any procedures and the 1st payment the UC housing ‘must’ be paid to the tenant. By the way that is not true, there is no policy or legislation that says the 1st payment must be paid to the tenant. And it happens I was not happy with the Dwp complaint handler reply so I escalated it to stage 2. Interestingly to find the respond is from the same Dwp staff who told me again, my complaint is not valid and he can not accept it as the complaint as it is against UC Policy not their services. Again that is not true as my complaint is not to do with the UC policy but with their maladministration and errors.
So he tried to push me away again but also interesting how both stage 1 and 2 is handled by him. Basically the jury and judge is the same person.
Anyway, I pushed it and pushed it, called him by phone and back it up by more emails and he then he replied with long jargon legislation saying how they should pay the tenant direct with the 1st payment.
Between those wrestling back and forth with him, I managed to contact the UC team leader of the actual jobcentre plus that processed the claim I was complaining about and spoken to him over the phone who is the only Dwp UC staff admitted wrong doings and that they should of paid the landlord the 1st payment of the UC housing element and he put in in a quick email to apologies (see email below from him). He then went on to pay me back the 1st payment of the UC housing element backdated it.
Then I went back to the Dwp UC original complaint handler who argued and argued they’ve not done wrong and to attach a copy of the Dwp UC Personal Budgeting Support and Alternative Payment Arrangements guidance published officially which outlines at least 20 grounds (tiers) that the UC work coach must consider who to pay the UC housing element to including the 1st payment. And also forwarded him the email of the UC team leader acknowledging they have not followed guidance and apologised.
The same complaint handler emailed back to say ‘he’s got nothing to add and forwarded the complaint to his line manager’. I am still awaiting to hear back as they get 15 days to reply. But they’ve probably know now they have no more excuses to cover up their wrong doing.
This whole thing just shows how much of a disarray the Dwp UC staffs are in and despite having black and white guidance under certain circumstances eg tenants in vulnerable backgrounds they should pay the landlord direct from the 1st payment onwards of the UC housing element, they totally bypass, disrespect and do not follow those official Dwp UC guidance instructions.
Then go on to pay the tenant the 1st payment of the UC housing element to cause chaos for everyone by themselves and argue they have not done any wrong while causing a lot of distress and financial hardship for both the tenants and landlords. At certain cases, causes a Notice to Quit to be served followed by eventual eviction.
The Dwp UC team leader who apologised below said if it was a social landlord, they would automatically pay the 1st payment of the UC housing element to the landlord direct and thereafter. Just go to show again, their administration is purely to attack private landlords and in this kind of situation, even if they are breaking official government guidance they would just to cause some chaos for private landlords.
Email from the Dwp UC team leader below:
“Further to our conversation this morning I can confirm that we have now paid today £72.93 to yourself which will bring the amount of housing you have received up to £448.85 for the Assessment period 06/09-05/10.
“I can confirm that this whole issue was created due to the correct guidance not being followed by staff at Universal Credit as a direct payment to landlord should have been set up when it was identified that Isobel was on Housing Benefit previously. I can only apologise for any inconvenience caused by this. Happy to discuss further if required.”
I just feel the landlord community needs to know this how the Dwp will maladminister UC housing element then try to confuse us all including MPs that it is policy for them to do those wrong payments and bluff people away when they want to complain.
They would then say, as it is a complain against policy and legislation, they can’t accept the complaint and I need to direct it to my MP.
Although I have also escalated it to my MP, the core issue is it was a valid complaint and it is their wrong administration of the UC housing element eg their service I am complaining about and trying to hold them accountable for, not the UC policy itself they are trying so hard to confuse us all.
Trust me I contact 3 MPs and even they don’t appear to fully understand UC policies and think it is policy that the Dwp UC staff must pay the tenant direct the 1st payment of the UC housing element.
It is confirmed that is not the case by the Scottish Landlord Association and the team leader below already.
All landlords need to keep complaining through the Dwp complaint procedures by email and persist until they start taking us serious and respect the government Dwp UC Personal Budgeting Support and Alternative Payment Arrangements guidance which allows and triggers them to pay the private landlord from the 1st payment onwards. Otherwise through time, the Dwp will create a policy itself when it was not a policy to start off with.
Please Click Here to download UC Personal Budgeting Support and Alternative Payment Arrangement Guidance – highlighted in relevant sections
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