Universal Credit claimants can now access British Sign Language interpreters as part of a free Video Relay Service.

The service can be used to help make a new claim or for those already claiming Universal Credit. It allows users to make BSL interpreted video calls via their tablet, smartphone, computer or laptop. A professional interpreter then relays the call in English to a member of DWP staff.

This supports a package of measures put in place by the Department of Work and Pensions to provide quicker and easier access to benefits during the Coronavirus outbreak. The move will support many of the 87,000 Deaf BSL users currently living in the UK.

Chief Operating Officer at thebigword, Mark Daley said: “thebigword aims to breakdown communication barriers wherever they are found and we are delighted to be able to offer a Video Relay Service for Deaf BSL users accessing Universal Credit.”

thebigword supports the DWP with all of their language requirements including services such as Video Relay, face to face and telephone interpreting as well as translation.