Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams has warned that thousands of people throughout Wales face the threat of getting the wrong benefits or even getting no benefits at all as the DWP plans to move almost all claims online in April as part of the Universal Credit plans.
Mr Williams said that obstacles posed by an online system are just a few of many concerns prompted by the Government's intention to combine several benefits payments, a policy that is set to see nearly 3 million UK households suffer a cut in their benefit entitlement.
He added that Wales is expected to suffer disproportionately as a result of these changes, given the high number of benefits claimants and poor internet access throughout the country.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday's Parliamentary debate on Universal Credit, Mr Williams said:
"Ministers claim that the new Universal Credit system will replace a "costly, outdated" model. The reality is that it will further marginalise some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society.
"The fact that the system will operate almost entirely online is a particular cause for concern in Wales. ONS figures show that around 20% of Welsh adults have never used the internet and broadband connections in many areas are extremely poor and insecure. Even superfast broadband, trailed as the universal answer to our communication needs will not reach the last 4% of Welsh households, mostly in rural and isolated areas.
"For years, the people of Wales have fallen on the wrong side of the digital divide. This is now set to have a damaging knock-on effect that will see claimants with little or no IT proficiency getting the wrong benefits or even getting no benefits at all.
"I am also worried that there has been no guarantee that people in Wales will be able to access a Welsh-medium service. That is why I have today tabled an oral question for answer at DWP questions next Monday asking the Secretary of State what arrangements have been made to ensure that Welsh speakers claiming Universal Credit on line are treated on a basis of equality with English speakers.
"Benefits claimants are among the most vulnerable people in our society. It is simply a matter of fairness that they should be able to claim these vital payments through a language and medium that will make the process as straight-forward as possible for them.
"I fear that the policy in its current form just won't work for Wales.
If the Government insists on pushing ahead with Universal Credit in its current form, it is imperative that it acts swiftly to guarantee universal internet access, Welsh-language provision, and specific support for the thousands of elderly people in Wales who never use the internet and will inevitably face great difficulty under the new system."