DWP launches new Trust and Protect scheme
Given the financial impact of COVID-19, especially on the most vulnerable in our society, there was a spike in benefits claims at the offset of the coronavirus pandemic.
In response to that spike, the Department of Work and Pensions recently launched their Trust and Protect scheme, which could see people who have made benefits claims at the start of the pandemic be subject to a benefits check.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the DWP Trust and Protect scheme?
Trust and Protect is a scheme launched by the Department for Work and Pensions that aims to ensure any benefits claims made during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic are backed by sufficient evidence.
The scheme will examine cases made at the onset of the pandemic, and may reach out to individuals to ask them for further evidence to back up their benefits claims.
Why was the Trust and Protect scheme introduced?
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the DWP were working through benefits claims according to their usual process and the typical checks made against any application.
Once the pandemic fully hit the UK, however, the DWP made the decision to introduce a new process that made it easier for people in need to apply for and receive benefits quickly.
This new process removed many of the usual checks and barriers involved in the benefits application process, including visits to the Job Centre, proof of identity, and household circumstances.
The Trust and Protect scheme was introduced as a way to double check the benefits claims made during the pandemic, and make sure they meet the usual standards now that we appear to be slowly returning to normal life.
How does the Trust and Protect scheme work?
Under Trust and Protect, the DWP will search their database for records of any claims made during the early stages of the pandemic (roughly speaking, that’s claims lodged around spring 2020).
Any cases that are flagged up will be further investigated by Trust and Protect. The first stage of the investigation will be to contact people over the phone (via your local Job Centre) or online (through your online journal).
For people who don’t have access to computers, or who aren’t confident using technology, it’s possible to switch to a non-digital claim for benefits like Universal Credit.
Once those initial contacts are made, individuals will be asked to provide supporting evidence for their claim. The evidence required will change depending on the case.
How will I know if I’m going to be contacted by Trust and Protect?
Not everybody who has made benefits claims during the pandemic will be contacted by Trust and Protect, but there is no formal criteria as to who will be reached out to, and whose benefits claims the DWP are satisfied with.
The only way you’ll know for sure is to wait and see whether you are eventually contacted by the DWP. You will be contacted via a phone call from your Job Centre or by message via your online journal.
The best way to make sure you’re prepared for potential contact by Trust and Protect is to make sure your contact details are up to date on the Job Centre’s records, and to check your online journal once a day, or at least once a week, if possible.
What happens if I can’t provide the right evidence to support my benefits claim?
With Trust and Protect, the Department for Work and Pensions are on the lookout for benefits claimants who are potentially claiming support they’re not entitled to.
They will require you to supply in-depth evidence to support any benefits claims, and show that your circumstances meet the criteria for the support you’re receiving.
If you are unable to provide the evidence the DWP requires, or the officials trying to contact you are unable to get a hold of you, your benefits may be frozen, or even stopped completely. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re ready for the call if and when it comes.