Written Question on Universal Credit: Disability

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

See more on: "Universal Credit: Disability"
Date Title Questioner
29 May 2019, 11:46 a.m. Universal Credit: Disability Neil Coyle


To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to consult (a) disabled people and (b) the organisations that represent disabled people to ensure that her digital by default programme for universal credit is compatible with the assistive technology that many disabled people rely on to access online services.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

All Department for Work and Pensions’ digital services are designed and built in line with Government Digital Service guidelines, and international standards for IT accessibility (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1). The intention is to make the services usable by as many people as possible without the use of assistive technology, and to be compatible with screen reading and magnifying tools for those people requiring them.

To ensure that they meet these standards, the services are tested during the development process and prior to implementation. This includes both a range of technical tests and assessment of their usability by intended end users.

Feedback from users of the services is encouraged and acted upon.

Specifically, for Universal Credit Full Service (UCFS), we continue to work closely with service users and their representatives and have recently completed our second external Audit that provided WCAG AA accreditation. The Department has a dedicated team ensuring that user experience (and accessibility is key to this) is at the heart of the way we develop the service.

For people unable to access or use digital services, assistance to make and maintain their claim is available via the Freephone Universal Credit helpline. Face-to-face support is also available in Jobcentres. In exceptional circumstances, a home visit can be arranged to support a claimant in making and maintaining their claim.

From 1 April 2019 Citizens Advice (England and Wales) and Citizens Advice Scotland are delivering the new ‘Help to Claim’ support to claimants making a new Universal Credit (UC) claim or moving from a legacy benefit to UC because of a change of circumstances. The Citizens Advice Help to Claim offers tailored, practical support to help people make a UC claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. It is available online, through web-chat, through a Freephone number and face to face through local Citizens Advice services.

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