How to complain about universal credit

Find out how to make a complaint about the universal credit process and who you can escalate your complaint to.

When you can complain

You can complain to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) if you’re unhappy with:

  • how your claim was handled
  • waiting times or delays
  • confusing or incorrect information

Challenge or appeal a universal credit decision

You need to ask for a review, known as a mandatory reconsideration, if you want to challenge or appeal a universal credit decision.

How to complain

You can complain by phone, in person, in writing or online.  Check any letters you have for information on who to contact.

When you make a complaint, you should include:

  • your name, address and contact details
  • your National Insurance number
  • what happened, when and why you’re unhappy about it
  • what you want them to do about it

Make a universal credit complaint online

Universal Credit helpline (open Monday to Friday 8am-6pm) 
0800 328 5644

What happens next

The DWP will check if they’ve made a mistake. If they have, they should contact you to tell you how they will put things right.

You may be offered some compensation if their mistake has caused you financial hardship or if you’ve been treated unfairly.

How to escalate your complaint

If you’re not satisfied with the response to your complaint, you can escalate it in the following order:

1. DWP complaints resolution manager

You can ask for your complaint to go to a complaint resolution manager. They should contact you to agree on how to investigate it.

They should get in touch with you again within 15 working days to tell you the outcome or when to expect a response if they need more time.

Ask for a senior manager to look at your complaint if you’re not happy with how it was investigated.

2. Independent case examiner

If you’ve gone through the complaints resolution manager and still aren’t satisfied, you can ask the Independent Case Examiner to investigate your complaint.

You must contact them within 6 months of receiving the DWP’s final response.

If they agree to investigate your complaint, they will look at what happened and the response you were given. They will ask the DWP to correct any mistakes they have made.

3. Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

If you’re not happy with Independent Case Examiner’s findings, you can ask your MP to send your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Find your MP on Parliament.UK

Last updated 10 Dec 2018 | © Shelter

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