factchecking myths and misconceptions about universal credit

“The journal will keep records of my claim in case I need them”

The short answer:

That’s sort of true … but you can’t automatically see records that have been changed

You are able to access details of your universal credit claim by logging on to your home page, which has links to a range of current information including your ‘to do list’, journal and payment details.

However, you can lose access to information about your claim if the DWP amends decisions or entries. The DWP has said in a parliamentary answer that entries to the journal may be subject to change so that you may not be able to see what was previously in your journal -

  • jobcentre staff have the ability to remove entries from the journal that they have made, although the DWP has said that a permanent record of the removed entry is retained;
  • where a decision has been revised, an official letter is uploaded to the journal detailing the new decision and when it will take effect (but details of the previous decision or award are not visible to you).

In addition, the DWP has said in an FOI response dated 30 April 2018 that claimants are not able to see journal entries from previous claims. In a follow up FOI response dated 13 June 2018 the DWP says that claimants are not able to see journal entries from a previous claim even when reclaiming universal credit after a drop in earnings within six months of a previous claim ending (which enables a rapid reclaim to take place using the same details as the earlier claim).

TIP: It will help you deal with potential problems or challenging a decision in future if you keep copies of your journal and award statements as you go (for example, a screenshot). If you no longer have access to relevant claim details you can request the details from your case manager or, if that fails, request your personal information online.

NB - if you are claiming jointly as a couple, the DWP has said - in an FOI response dated 5 April 2018 - that you will lose access to the journal and your claims information immediately when you split your claim. However, the DWP also says that case managers are still able to access old versions of the information held on the system, so if you need details to help you with your current claim, or to challenge a decision connected to your old claim, you can request these from your case manager.

Official guidance:

DWP youtube videos about the universal credit journal and the homepage and statement.

Repeat claims process after receiving a nil award - paragraph 3.3 of the October 2018: Universal Credit landlord engagement newsletter.

Re-claims guidance from the DWP from the House of Commons library website (last updated March 2019).

Need more help?

If you need help in finding out more about your rights and the options available to you, do consider contacting a local independent advice organisation. 

Enter a postcode on our advicelocal site to find details of advice organisations in your area. They will usually be able to offer free advice and support, and help to answer any questions you have.

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