PCS is expressing strong concern about changes that will force people to claim JSA online and the increased risk to you.
JSA online pushes claimants to claim JSA via the internet. The department believes this is something that the vast majority of claimants can do and want to do. The government has even set a target of 80% of all JSA claims to be made online by September 2013.
Six “Trailblazers” have been set up by management to increase the numbers using the internet online process by using various degrees of coercion.
PCS assistant secretary Paul Barton said: “We believe that compelling claimants to claim online, and delaying claims not made online, is contrary to the DWP customer charter which commits DWP to dealing with all customers as quickly as we can.”
Paul also expressed concern that compelling claimants to claim online, and delaying payments if they do not, could lead to increased conflict and incidents.
Paul said: “We believe that DWP should offer a variety of ways for claiming benefit, of which online should only be one. We understand that many claimants are content to claim online but those who chose not to should not be forced to.”
JSA On Line and its pensions equivalent State Pension Online, represent a major shift in the way the government expects business to be conducted in the future. The government wants transactions with the public to be via the internet rather than face to face, by paper or phone. We are concerned that although some things are already done this way such as road tax renewal, these are relatively straightforward transactions and we question the ability of an electronic system to cope with complex DWP work.
PCS believes the 80% target is wholly unrealistic. This change also puts vulnerable customers at a major disadvantage. We have raised our serious concerns with management and we will not agree any process that disadvantages customers or puts members at risk.