SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone,
has welcomed clarification from the Department for Communities that Irish
passports are recognised and can be used as part of the verification process
to access Universal Credit.
Mr McGlone said, “Following recent
media reports about difficulties in using Irish passports as verification to
access Universal Credit, a number of constituents had contacted my office
expressing their concerns about applying for this benefit.
“As a result I contacted the
Department for Communities seeking clarification on whether or not
constituents can use an Irish passport to confirm their identity when
applying for Universal Credit.
“The Department has now confirmed that
Irish passports are recognised and can be used as part of the Verify
process. They have stated that this has been successfully tested.
“They have, however, also accepted
that the verification process can be difficult to navigate and acknowledged
the concerns raised by those who have attempted to use the system.
“The Department has said that they
will work to address those concerns and ensure help and support is available
to users of the Verify process when making claims to the new Universal
“The SDLP will continue to monitor the
situation as Universal Credit is rolled out in the north to ensure that the
promised help and support is available and that all those entitled to this
benefit are able to apply without difficulty.“