DWP: Touchbase – 6 November 2020

Roundup of recent DWP announcements


Universal Credit – Minimum Income Floor for the self-employed

The Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for self-employed Universal Credit (UC) claimants will remain suspended until the end of April 2021, extending a vital lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people.

The further suspension means that self-employed people will continue to receive financial support from UC based on their current actual earnings. This provides additional protection for those who experience a drop in earnings due to the impact of COVID-19.

This support is in addition to the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme announced on 2 November.

Government extends Furlough to March

On 5 November the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now run until the end of March with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.

Similarly, support for millions more workers through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be increased, with the third grant covering November to January calculated at 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.

Update – Claimants must attend telephone health assessments

When telephone health assessments were introduced for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) earlier this year, an easement was put in place so that Fail to Attend (FTA) and Fail to Participate (FTP) actions did not take place as a result of someone not attending a scheduled telephone assessment.

From Monday 2 November, ESA and UC telephone assessment appointment letters will make it clear that claimants must attend their telephone appointment. FTA and FTP action will apply, e.g. benefit may be stopped (ESA) or entitlement change (UC), for those who have been issued with this letter and fail to attend or participate in their appointments without good reason.

No one will have their support stopped without being contacted first. People will be contacted to ask them to explain why they did not, or could not attend or participate in the assessment and where good cause is provided and accepted, support will continue.

Video Relay Service

DWP has extended Video Relay Service (VRS) for British Sign Language (BSL) users across all service lines.

Since extending VRS, we’ve seen a 15% increase in customers using this service.

A total of 12,536 VRS calls have been made to DWP in the last 12 months.

25% of VRS calls were made on Personal Independence Payment, 22% on Access to Work, 16% on Universal Credit, 14% on ESA with the remaining calls made across other service lines.

To find out more about using Video Relay Service, watch the video and download the app here .

Clinically extremely vulnerable – updated guidance

New guidance on keeping safe has been published for the clinically extremely vulnerable in England under new national restrictions which came into force this week.