Campaigns Welfare Reform and Homelessness

Universal Credit – how to make your complaint heard

universal credit
Bill Irvine
Written by Bill Irvine

My July bulletin on how to pursue queries and complaints explained how you could raise queries and make complaints to DWP, concerning Universal Credit administration processes, where problems of delays or non-payment of Landlord Managed Payments (LMPs) or Third Party Payments (APAs) occur. We continue to press DWP hierarchy to improve the processes and timescales for responses.

As a result, in the past few days I’ve been supplied with a list of the regional Complaint Resolution Teams to whom you should now address your complaints.

I’ve been asked to advise you to put in the subject matter of your e-mail, the words “Formal Complaint” but nothing else. In the body of the e-mail you should provide all the details of the tenant, address, national insurance number, date of birth etc. and a summary of your concerns and the issues to be addressed.

The centres can be emailed at these addresses: – Southern England CRT (covering Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Sussex) – North West CRT (covering Manchester, Liverpool, Cumbria and the lakes, Cheshire, Wirral) – Scotland CRT – Wales CRT – Central CRT (East Anglia, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Lincolnshire, Birmingham, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Northamptonshire) – North East CRT (North) – (covering Durham, Tyne & Wear, Teesside, Northumbria) – North East CRT (South) – (covering Yorkshire & Humberside) – London and Home Counties CRT (covering Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Middlesex, Surrey, Berkshire)

If after receiving the DWP’s response, if you remain unhappy or need further clarification you can escalate your complaint to stage 2, through emailing – a single address covering the whole of operations. This is effectively the Director General’s support staff you’re writing to.

The DWP has committed to turning round complaints in 15 working days – although with complex review cases they say it can take longer.

Bill Irvine is an RLA trainer and Universal Credit expert. If you require any further information on this or any other aspect of Universal Credit or welfare reform contact

About the author

Bill Irvine

Bill Irvine

Bill has quickly become known as a very effective Welfare Rights Advocate. He has been involved in most of the major social security changes since the early 80’s when Housing Benefit was first introduced. As well as offering advice and assistance to landlords, primarily in the RSL/PRS sectors, he also provides representation when disputes can’t be resolved through negotiation and where they have to be progressed through the formal tribunal process, initially to First Tier and, if necessary, through to Upper Tier level where some of his cases have proved to be of national importance to disadvantaged groups.


  • i am pregnant and i am on universal credit and thy have not paid me and its not my first payment either been on it 2 months and thy are 3 days late still no money or food or gas or electirc and all thy say is wait how can i wait when i have no food and its there fault i need to complain asap

  • I am on holiday and spending Xmas with my girlfriend in Scotland and I was told that I could transfer my details from Blackpool Jobcentre to one in Scotland. And I was told that I could give a temporary address and still have my money by someone from Universal credit and then I was told no I can’t. I am still looking for jobs and now I’m stuck in Scotland for the New year I’m due to go back to Blackpool on the 7th of January but I have no money to get me back to Blackpool

  • Since August I have been fighting with u versa credit to pay my lanlord the rent, and up to this date he still has not been paid.

    I suffer from sickle cell and have been admitted to hospital on numerous occasions and have missed one appointment with the social but brought in evidence and they are still not paying

    • I have the same trouble uc are taking money off us and its not being paid to the places its meant to go its caused nothing but problems and stress in my household and its still on going we are in alot of debt due to muck ups made by uc its really getting me down i understand when reading all these comments on here that people are getting deppressed because of this change, on top of all this my 4 year olds disability benefit has been slashed in half each month because apparently its the “universal credits allowence ” how can that be i thought disability didn’t get touched? Its all wrong then you contact uc on your uc log in and they say contact this one contact that one yet they fail to tell you they are 0345 numbers which are not cheap to phone then because everyones having the same bother you can’t get through anyway and are stuck on hold ending up with a big phonebill you cant pay because your not getting the right money just sick of all this really am :'(….

    • I just asked the universal credit staff can my rent be paid directly to my land lord they just sent me a very rude reply. All they just had to say was no rather than a long lecture

  • The Guardian reported on Tuesday that thousands of council tenants on universal credit were at risk of eviction because of outstanding rent arrears caused or exacerbated by formal 42-day waits for a first Universal Credit benefit payment. Additional processing delays meant some claimants were waiting for up to 60 days for the first UC payment.

  • I have been working for the past 7 years, i was cut down to 1 and then 2 days a week, as business went down, i had to claim Universal Credit, it was fine at first, Then because i was struggling with rent payments, i had all my payments sent to our housing office, i have been left with no payments for the past 4 months, as they have said £400 is enough to live on, Seriously? my rent is £450 a month, and because they have made mistakes with my payments, i am suffering, they make me feel suicidal, as i may be evicted , hope you are proud, and i have a beautiful family to look after, hope you your family dont suffer like this

  • This universal thing is not working.People that works at the job centre they doesnt even have time to look to someone’s case in Peckham they rushing all the time without giving a proper advice to their clients that what is happening in Peckham iobcentr. Pls am kindly asking for some one to look on to my claim

  • I have waited 6 weeks for a payment, my landlord has been understanding and has been willing to wait for a first payment but they only paid me 300 UC! they have taken 25 back for the 150 advance payment I received 5 weeks ago and haven’t processed the housing part of my claim! i have 290 to live on! my rent is 450 and the landlord has told me he has no choice but to evict us, on top of that my advisor at the jobcentre told me, they haven’t assessed my wages and I may have been overpaid and may have to pay some money back!!!

    I am at my wits end with this and feel like killing myself- i know that sounds ridiculous but i cant cope with this any longer, This is causing me massive mental health problems. I used to claim DLA but that was stopped with one 5 min phonecall!!!! how are they getting away with this.

  • I’m furious and upset! I’ve worked all throughout my adult life. Then I left my job to start a new one found out I was pregnant had severe sickness where I ended up in hospital and couldn’t start my new job. Ever since I’ve been trying to claim benefits and it’s so stressful. I went into serious house arrears where I was due to be evicted with a new born until I wrote to the Swindon Councillor to complaim and she pushed it on. Now there’s universal credit which is supposed to be easier I was never told that I wouldn’t receive it because I was on Maternity Allownance the job centre won’t or can’t give you any information on it because they don’t know so then your expected to call the helpline. They then didn’t pay may rent because they hadn’t received a letter from my landlord, I spoke to my landlord and they’ve said they sent their response on the same day they sent this to me also. So then I’ve had to pay extra for my phone bill which is a struggle to try and resolve this myself. Now my Maternity Allowance has stop I rang to update my record on the 11/05/17 and was told that they have been notified by DWP and that I would receive the full amount of Universal credit. I asked the lady to update my record and to confirm I was getting the full amount bearing in my I receive less Maternity Allowance. Today I checked my online account and it says I’m only going to receive the lesser amount! I’ve rang and again someone else had given me false informations he told me I wasn’t getting the full amount and he can see on my record the person I was speaking to said I would receive the full amount he also said that the lady I spoke to was in a different call centre. I told him you all should have the same training and give the same advice or information. I’m now upset and stressed out with a baby to know that none of my bills are going to be paid neither will I be able to feed my child. I’ve asked to speak to a manager as I was given false and misleading information. I haven’t received a call from any manager yet.
    I know I’m going to be offered to have an advance but how is that going to help me in the long run. That’s going to make me short each month trying to pay it back so another DEBT!!!!! I’m so frustrated with this whole thing it’s not like I can go to work 1) I have no babysitter 2) can’t afford childcare what I’m I supposed to do strap my baby to me and go to work. Or I ask for is a little help’

  • Hello I am to apply Universal Credit on 25/05/17,today is 05/07/17.,this period I am not have any payment including housing benefits.Tell me please when posibly make complaint to court.
    Thank you.

  • My daughter split with her partner in March she waited 3 weeks to claim and was told it would be U Credits. She was told it can’t be backdated so made the claim on her one day off at Job centre . She waited for pay,ent and was eventually told in May that because her May wage ( she works nearly full time with 2 children nursery and childminder fees to pay ) was paid early because of bank holiday i.e. 28 April instead of Sunday 30th and she had 2 wage payments in 4 weeks she would get nothing. An absolute joke as when she said this was unfair the customer service agent said she should ask her employer to change the date her wage is paid to her . Now here’s the best part her employer is Local Government so the all DWP Hmrc etc in fact 2.211 million employees in December 2015 should have there pay date changes because of the Universal Credit rules. Well she appealed got nothing had to make a new claim even though she complained and as of today has still not received 1p. She was told her first payment was authorised on a call at 5pm today and that DWP had until 8pm this evening to get the payment into her bank. Guess what still no payment. I shall take this to disgraceful appalling unbelievable treatment to the highest level until I get answers as I am the person who has kept her throughout this shocking Goverment Universal Shambles. My advice to anyone else go to your local councillor and get your MP involved.

  • Me and my partner went on to universal credit at end off January as I was pregnant our first payment was very late had to keep contacting them we had no money to feed our children couldn’t pay any bills had to borrow money from family the stress universal credit caused our family is silly I was pregnant didn’t need the stress my partner has chronic fatigue syndrome depression so he didn’t need the stress 6 months later we have had one payment on time the rest has been late when our baby girl was born in April bring a new baby home with no money was horrible. That don’t care you write on your journal and your case manager doesn’t get back we should of got help for our interest mortgage payment from end of January the first form never arrived the second form got lost the third form we took it to our job centre and then took ages to sort out then got told that it been capped but it says nothing in the benefit cap that the interest mortgage is included the whole experience is stressful and it makes you bso unhappy that theft think it OK to leave people with no money they got this benefit cap but they don’t think about school uniform you have to buy school trips think they should think of things like that

  • Non payment. Phoned tuesday they said my money would be in before midnight. But it was’nt. Then i phoned wenseday morning she said i will get it. Guess what no money this is a piss take. Why lie to me!!!. Will try tommorow.

  • I have complained to the address listed above in Scotland and it will come as no surprise that the ignorant idiots have not had the decency to respond.

    Is it any wonder that the system is broken and un-workable? They do not listen to landlords and continue with the broken system.

  • Ive been fighting the DWP for 1.5 years now. Ive won my tribunal and ive been waiting 13 weeks for my escalated complaint to be signed off by the director. Ive granted extended time to 5 weeks. Then denied it after but they still week in week out are denying me a response. What should I do?
    I cant force the director to sign a possitive or negative statement to progress to ICE or get an MP letter.
    Any help would be appreciated.

  • more…
    27 September 2017 18:13 Hi, This message is for the Head Manager
    i attended the job centre today 27/09/2017 for advice in how i should submit my payslips needed for the sanction that is currently placed against me today. As i have been wrongfully sanctioned as i was at work which i have proof of, i applied for a hardship loan. There was a note added to my journal, i was unable to call the universal credit and so i attended the job centre locally. I have had problems with getting contact with UC as it is not a freephone number and is very expensive when you are on pay as you go! I attended the Job centre Newcastle Cathedral Square where i showed the online journal message to the manager Ian and explained the current sanctioning and that i had the needed evidence to dispute the sanctioning. Ian the JC employee refused to help me on the grounds that i had to telephone UC (despite the long conversation as to why i couldn’t) he refused to help and he asked me to leave the premises. In the end, the manger Ian and other members of staff (a lady with black hair, middle-aged and the security officer) caused a humiliating scene as they phone called the police to physically remove me from the building – My only reason for attending the job centre in the first place was because my journal said to attended at my earliest convenience. I felt very embarrassed, especially as the staff claimed i was being threatening however the police decided to take no further action as it is government property and i am entitled to help and support. I would appreciate if the manager can look at the CCTV as i was definitely not aggressive or threatening/abusive/intimidating in any way – i just did not want to leave the job centre without the help i needed. I am frustrated as since i have been sanctioned i have had no income for the previous month nearly longer, i suffer from anxiety and panic attacks which i take medication for as job centre is aware and the situation is getting too much especially with the lack of help which could be so easily provided by job centre, especially from a manger within the branch. I have tried to resolve this matter for the past 4 weeks. I appealed the sanction but i haven’t heard anything in return, i do not know if i am going to be paid, I feel like i am irrelevant and that job centre is bullying me and no support is being provided. The job centre tried to remove me with force as i couldn’t make a phone call so they refused to help me. The staff spoke to me like i was a child, they spoke down to me and like i couldn’t understand English language. i am 27 yo man and fully capable of speaking and understanding. I was not given the opportunity to explain myself only ushered straight out of the door. I want to raise this matter further and will be contact with my local MP as I have no support and a lack of communication from Job centre and Universal credits. The entire problem to begin with was created by universal team with unfair sanctioning. Please can a deputy manager or superior look into the altercation that happened within job centre today as i feel i have been mistreat and publicly humiliated, I would also like a follow-up to the current sanction and as i was unable to hand in my payslips to the manager Ian at Newcastle today i will need to be informed as to how i should give UC a copy for evidence.

  • My money has been stopped I tried explain to them they said I didn’t attend meeting on 13th September reason is they didn’t issue letter to me until 23rd September so how could I attend date had gone I tried tell them this they stopped my money no one will help me it Christmas next week I have no food no gas electricity it’s so cold can anyone help me

  • Dear Sir/Madam,
    I’ve tried to get in touch with Universal Credit on the phone and they can’t hear me sometimes it’s my fault because I’ve not got the details on hand,like my phone number.The new scheme has been good apart from that.Some staff can hear me maybe it’s a bad line.

    I’ve also tried to contact the e-mail advice line but they don’t know why i did.I tried to contact the local council office but the don’t take my payslip because i get Universal Credit but they need the payslip for Council Tax reduction.They said that Universal Credit will let them know.I might have to try post and phone for change of circumstances.Their is small snags with lack of communication but it’s still good for help and advice and deal with any issues straight a way when needed.

    The DHP are going to give me £105.95 per month from 13/11/2017 to 31/03/2018 to the landlord but no confirmation yet of landlord until receipt comes through.My wage for this month has went down to £281.85 because of days off,sorry for any inconveniences this may cause.This is more of information,than a complaint.It might be the only way to get the message to you..

    Yours Faithfully,

    John Michael Clark.

  • Dear Sir/Madam,

    Contact regarding communication.Sorry for any inconvenience this might cause.

    Yours Faithfully,

    John Michael Clark.

  • Dear Sir/Madam,
    I’m contacting you referring to the last correspondence. I contacted the Universal Credit helpline and they gave me advice about contact, I couldn’t get through before because some of the staff could not hear me.I used a landline from the job centre to get a better reception. The call went alright and the staff were very helpful and they said that the HMR will contact them about my wages but if the wage exceeds the required amount of £320 i will notify them straight away but sometimes people aren’t good on the phone. The landline was a better reception and the staff said that DHP makes up the difference of the Universal Credit income. I’ve no confirmation from the landlord that they have received the money yet. I don’t want to be over payed Universal Credit if I’m not entitled to it.Thanks for all your help and I hope that these letters will help other people in my position. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

    Yours Faithfully,

    John Michael Clark

  • Dear Sir/Madam,

    Final communicaton outcome was out standing from Universal Credit.

    Yours Faithfully,

    John Michael Clark.

  • Dear Sir/Madam,

    I will contact by phone but it would be good to have a e-mail address.The old might like to post or hand in to a local office.

    Yours Faithfully,

    John Michael Clark.

  • Universal Credit the absolute joke of a British grove meant organisation. Not only was I underpaid at my first payment with a 3 weeks struggle but their case workers have the I capability to review individual cases or use any experience to calculate payments.

    What an absolute diabolical system, I have worked all my life and started university in 2016 but with the course getting hectic and as a single mother. I decided to forfeit my job and concentrate on my education and mothering but almost 3 moths into my claim, and, UC have failed to work out my correct payment.

    I have had to contact them at every pay date when they find reason to request for further unrealistic evidence, they don’t contCt you back regardless of promises and worse it’s not only straining to contact them every single day but frustrating when one realises that they have hardly looked through your case.

    I think someone in the government owns shares in this company of I wouldn’t employ it to feed any stray ants. They absolutely care less bout one’s rent arrears, bills, expenses, children. Two years down the system and the errors as still similar.
    I am absolutely frustrated and whilst none takes responsibility of resolving any complaints, there is nothing we’re able to do. I am not giving up, I have raised my issue with my MP now.

  • If I was to lie & give force information to universal credits , and claim money not ment for me . that would be illegal , and I would end up in court . so how is it legal for them to tell tell my partner she earned hundreds of pounds over what’s on her payslips , which is miles off . without seeing or asking to see any wage slips from the month before . how is legal for them to put force amounts people earn and slash there money .

      • when i first went on to universal credit i missed 2 apointments the letters were sent out late to me i phoned them up there told me to go on line do the claim again then i went to information centre the woman phoned them up asking for a appointment to see a job coach there told her i should be on employment support i was taken of employment support then i phoned them up she would do my claim over the phone then she tells after she asked me most of the questions im not eligable to phone up benefits i go on line do another 2 claims universal credit said there didnt get them i had to go to citzen advice bureu it was sorted out after 4 months i had to pay £148 council tax over £1200 rent and also over £1200 benefits which i havent had for those 4months 1 week i filled up back dating form 2 sick notes from my doctor which was sent to them on december the 12th 20016 was told bye the jobcenter that there had accepted my claim in january 20018 i had a letter from them in april 20018 there had changed there mind it took 1year and 5months to contact me there tell me i can apeal i go to see citzen advice bureu there do nothing what can i do

  • Hi,

    Could you please advise whom I can complain to regarding incorrect advice from an Universal Credit adviser?

    I have been employed since 2015 by a small company. In 2016 I got pregnant and went on maternity leave May 2017 month before my baby was due.
    I have been advised by my employer that I will get 90% of my salary for the first 6 weeks, and then £140.98 every month for 9 months total. For the rest of my maternity ( as I took it in full) I was paid by Universal Credit. It was difficult to get it in first place but being persistence proving I am legally in the UK for the last 6 years and can work and claim I have succeed.

    My maternity leave was nearly over, and Since my son isn’t even one year old I have advised with one of the advisers if it would be possible for me to quit work stay with my son until he is 2 , send him to nursery, while I will use an option which they promote – to do some courses, re qualified and go back to work . Adviser told me I can quit my job with no effect on Universal Credit. Which I have done. I have been ignored for days, leaving entries in my online journal to work coach, payment team etc. I have been sanctioned and send to do RHT again. After few long phone calls to the customer service I managed to explain that this has been done months ago. I have been told that because I have quit my work I am not entitled to UC anymore. I have explain that just followed an advice form adviser. Been ignored, and not given any information whatsoever. After a week , loads of phone calls, online account entries I have been granted my late payment – over a week late. But need to seek actively for a part time job. No one is able to explain to me how this can be possible if I have been advised I will not need to to it until my son is 2.

    In few words, I have quit my permanent job following agents advice and now forced to look for part time job instead rather than use courses UC is offering to re qualified. If I will fail to do it I will not be entitled to claim UC anymore.
    I have depression and anxiety history, being the main carer for my son and worried that I was not been paid, no information on why, no reply in 5 days.This has cause me stress and panic attack as didn’t know what will happen to me and my son.

    Please is there anywhere I could complain as I lost my permanent work because of incorrect information, being ignored, and rather than re qualified forced to find part time job in order to receive any help.

    I am shocked how the system is working, but UC advisers are messing with peoples life and one of them is mine and my son.
    Please could you advise?

  • I have been waiting 4 months for my mandatory reconsideration decision. Government guidelines are 28 days Despite endless phone calls there is no timeframe for when a decision will be made ‘ could take a year’. Completely unacceptable. Please advise how I can make them give me a decision. I am desperate now. Many thanks

    • I would advise giving our advice team a call on 0333 014 2998 and they should be able to help you in terms of what steps to take next.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.