DWP: Touchbase – 13 November 2020

Roundup of recent DWP announcements

New winter package to provide further support for children and families

A package to help support vulnerable families this winter and beyond was announced this week. This includes:

The £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme will support children and families with food and other essentials this winter. Councils in England will distribute funding which they will receive in December.

Up to £220m is being invested in the Holiday Activities and Food programme to open it up to the whole of England for the major school holidays in 2021. This fund offers healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children.

Healthy Start payments will increase from £3.10 to £4.25 from April 2021.

A further £16m will be given to food distribution charities by the Government.

Devolved Administrations have received equivalent funding through the upfront funding guarantee, which was recently increased to £16bn for the year to support their COVID-19 response.

Jobcentre guidance update

The Prime Minister recently announced that new national COVID-19 measures were being brought in for England to protect the NHS and save lives.

Jobcentre guidance covering the period up to 2 December 2020 can be found on GOV.UK. It also includes guidance for jobcentres in Scotland and Wales.

For Northern Ireland please contact the Department for Communities for more information on measures introduced by phoning 028 9082 9000.

Please share this information within your organisations.

Support for carers and jobseekers extended

Measures to support unpaid carers and jobseekers during the coronavirus pandemic have been extended for a further six months.

Unpaid carers will continue to be able to claim Carer’s Allowance if they have a temporary break in caring. This applies if they or the person they care for has coronavirus or if either have to isolate because of it. Providing emotional support will continue to count towards the Carer’s Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week.

Meanwhile, measures to protect payments for people who are self-isolating and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – if they are not able to fulfil their work search requirements – have also been extended.

These protections will ensure those who are self-isolating or who have coronavirus, will continue to receive regular payments through to May 2021. They also apply to people who are caring for a child who has coronavirus.