EU citizens receiving benefits could lose their universal credit in three weeks unless they prove their right to be in the UK, charity workers have warned.
The Work Rights Center (WRC) said staff from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) told them EU and European Economic Area nationals must download a special code from the Home Office to prove that they had the right to reside in the UK before the end of the month.
If they don’t update the DWP profile online with this “share code”, they could fall out of the system, says the WRC. Other charities have expressed similar concerns.
The WRC has raised concerns that many people receiving benefits, including family allowances, may simply lose because they don’t know they need to update their profile or “trip”. On the DWP Universal Credit website.
“Frankly, this is a mass inadmissibility that is waiting to happen,” said the association’s director, Olivia Vicol. “Many charities, including ours, have warned that a digital-only immigration status will not take the pressure off of having to prove your rights.”
She says she was made aware of the deadline by customer service agents who appeared to be “reading a script” when she asked for clarification on a letter sent to Home Office applicants advising them that they had to. ask for EU regulation. regime after Brexit.
The deadline will come as a shock to many who thought that the Home Office’s insisting on a digital share code to prove their rights meant that the DWP would automatically know who had the right to stay in the country or not. .
Vicol said the DWP’s claim will also be of concern to many in the backlog of 450,000 Home Office claims still being processed for the settlement program. “I can’t even begin to explain how anxious this will make those in the Home Office backlog, who – through no fault of their own – cannot generate the proof that the DWP requires,” she said. declared.
The letter ignored EU citizens who may have had pending claims with the EU Settlement System (EUSS) and therefore should have had their rights protected until a result was found. .
Home Secretary Kevin Foster has repeatedly said that the rights of EU citizens who are still overdue would be secured by issuing a certificate of application from his department.
Vicol said his charity was also concerned about vulnerable European citizens who were unfamiliar with computers and who might have had their applications submitted by charities or other representatives who may not have known they were had to prove their rights to the DWP. They are also concerned that those who have moved or changed their phone number will not be informed by the DWP of the need to update their benefit profile online.
Almost half of those who asked for the charity’s help said they were unsure how to get a “code for sharing” from the Home Office when their employer asked them to do so.
“Their current approach puts local authorities and third sector benefit advisers in a very awkward position, to focus on proving their status when many people have already done so and others cannot. just not, âshe said.
A government spokesperson said: “We continue to use all possible channels, including letters, phone calls, texts and the direct contact our frontline staff have with their clients, to encourage those who are eligible to apply to the EU settlement system. “