Roundup of recent DWP announcements
Special Rules for End of Life
As outlined in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday 10 May fast-track benefit access is to be extended to those nearing the end of their life for Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance.
The Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill will mean that people considered by a clinician as having 12 months or less to live (rather than the current six months) can have fast-tracked access to these benefits.
The extended fast-track access means those eligible are not subject to a face-to-face assessment, or waiting period, with the majority of individuals receiving the highest rate of those benefits.
In April 2022 the same changes were introduced for people on Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance.
Get help arranging child maintenance digital service
Get help arranging child maintenance is a new online service which supports separated parents to understand their options around making financial arrangements for their children. It has replaced Child Maintenance Options in England, Scotland and Wales. The service is available 24/7 and explains customers’ options and includes information about family-based arrangements as well as the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).
The digital and telephony services have been streamlined so customers can now make their application in one sitting as there is no longer a need to arrange a call-back. The new service is also quicker to use, taking only 15-20 minutes as opposed to 45 minutes previously.
Customers who are unable to use the online service or have no one to help them can speak to a CMS case worker on 0800 171 2345 which is available 8.00 -16.00 Monday to Friday.
Customers in Northern Ireland must still use Child Maintenance Choices.
If your organisation has a website, please arrange for relevant changes to be made to ensure readers are signposted to the new service.
New look for Way To Work campaign
Way To Work is a national drive to get half a million more people into work by the end of June.
The campaign encourages employers to use Jobcentre Plus to help fill their vacancies and address their recruitment needs, and has relaunched with a new look and feel, as well as an updated stakeholder toolkit for partners.
With 1.3 million vacancies and hundreds of thousands of people on Universal Credit who are actively looking to make a fresh start in work, Way to Work aims to connect jobseekers to live job opportunities, and employers to the candidates they need.
The toolkit features testimonials from employers who have used Jobcentre Plus to successfully fill their vacancies.
The latest phase of the campaign has gone live this week with radio and print advertising, and you may have seen our ads on social media.
More promotional activity, featuring sectors that are facing recruitment shortfalls such as manufacturing and construction, will be live in the days ahead.
The stakeholder toolkit is available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expansion of Restart Scheme eligibility criteria
Since its launch in June 2021, the Restart Scheme has been successful in helping many Universal Credit (UC) claimants break down their barriers to employment and move closer to or into work.
To give even more UC claimants the opportunity to be supported back into employment, a further change was made to the eligibility criteria on 9 May 2022.
This change will mean that to be eligible for a referral, claimants will no longer have to have spent nine months in the Intensive Work Search Regime (IWSR) continuously. Time spent in other regimes will count towards the nine-month period on UC to make the claimant eligible.
This change will allow claimants to be selected for consideration for a referral to the Restart Scheme who:
- Are in the IWSR at the point of selection
- Have spent at least nine months (39 weeks) on UC
- Have spent the last six months (26 weeks) prior to selection in any (or a combination) of the following regimes:
- Light Touch Out of Work
- No Work-Related Requirements
- Work Focused Interview
- Work Preparation
Prior to this six-month period, the claimant could have been in any regime, including Light Touch in Work and/or Working Enough.
Participation in the Restart Scheme will continue to be mandatory for all claimants that are referred, and the support will last for a maximum of 12 months.
Providing support for people to claim Universal Credit – supplier event
The DWP currently provides grant funding to support people to make and maintain their Universal Credit (UC) claim up until their first payment.
The Department is looking at how best to fulfil these requirements in the future by considering our strategy and the capability of the marketplace.
The requirement has not yet been finalised, and DWP is hosting an industry pre-market engagement event on 19 May 2022 to give potential delivery partners the opportunity to better understand our objectives and challenges, and to gain insight from the market about potential ways forward.
Last chance to have your say on the cross-government complaint standards
Recently, DWP has been working with Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) and other government departments to develop new cross-government complaint standards. These standards will provide a consistent set of expectations for how all government services should handle complaints.
The public consultation on these standards was launched in March and closes on the 31 May. We are keen to hear your views and they will be critical in improving complaints handling – so remember to have your say before the consultation closes.
The consultation can be accessed via the PHSO website.