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Universal Credit: Hearing Impairment

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 252875, tabled on 10 May 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of British Sign Language users who have not received adequate support in accessing the universal credit helpline.

Answered on

15 May 2019

Universal Credit has been designed with accessibility in mind and we are committed to providing personalised support for all claimants.

Where our customers need assistance to access our services and information, we make reasonable adjustments to meet their individual needs. DWP customers who have a specific communication barrier are able to use a variety of different communication methods including via third party interpreters for British Sign Language (BSL) and textphone and next Generation Text services are available to customers who are unable to contact the Department by phone.

In addition, Universal Credit claimants can use their online accounts to send messages direct to their Work Coach or Case Manager, check their Universal Credit benefit payments and notify us of any changes.

We are currently in the design stage of a test to implement Video Relay Service for our Universal Credit British Sign Language customers in one geography by June 2019. This will be robustly evaluated incorporating customer insight ahead of any decision to roll out the service nationally.

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