DWP: Touchbase – 27 November 2020

Roundup of recent DWP announcements


Restart programme to help over a million unemployed people

This week DWP revealed further details of the £2.9bn Restart programme to help more than a million benefit claimants, which was announced by the Chancellor in the Spending Review. This forms part of the Government’s wider Plan for Jobs to protect, support and create jobs.

Restart is a new programme to help people on Universal Credit within the Intensive Work Search group, who have been out of work for 12 months or longer with no sustainable earnings when they are referred to Restart. They will receive more intensive support, via fortnightly meetings for up to a year, from local providers. Using in-depth knowledge of local jobs and skills markets, providers will work with community organisations, including local authorities, to deliver tailored support for individuals. This may include training to switch to growth sectors by providing support through recruitment stages, updating IT skills and / or getting the right certificates to take up a job in a different industry, such as construction or transport.

The scheme is expected to help more than a million jobseekers over the course of three years and will be available in England and Wales. Support for the long term unemployed in Scotland will be considered separately by the Scottish Government.

Attendance Allowance update

Attendance Allowance (AA) review processes are reverting to previous arrangements, after changes were made in response to COVID-19.

The first customers to be affected will be those whose AA awards expire on or after 8 March 2021. These customers will receive renewal packs in the coming weeks and will have the normal 20 week period to complete and return their packs prior to their award expiring.

Awards that were due to expire before 8 March 2021 will be automatically extended and will continue to receive payments until they are subject to a review at a later date. 

If someone claiming AA has a change of circumstances they still need to inform DWP.

Please share this information with your audiences and members.

Self-Isolation Payments

People who are receiving certain benefits could be eligible for a payment of £500 if they have been told to self-isolate, are unable to work from home, and will lose income as a result of self-isolating.

Eligible benefits include Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support and Pension Credit. Other eligibility rules apply. People who are not eligible but who will still face hardship as a result of having to self-isolate may be able to get a discretionary payment instead, depending on their individual circumstances.

Neither self-isolation support payments nor discretionary payments will affect DWP benefit eligibility or payments.

Letters sent to UK nationals to prepare for the Brexit transition

The Government has sent out 365,000 letters to UK State Pensioners and benefit recipients living in the EU to advise them to take action to prepare for the end of the UK transition. The letters included advice on how to register for residency and healthcare and also confirmed recipients would continue to receive their State Pensions as they do now.

The UK Government has allocated £3 million for charities and community voluntary organisations across Europe to assist UK Nationals who may need additional help to register or apply to protect their residency rights. This includes potentially at-risk groups, such as pensioners and disabled people and those living in remote areas or who have mobility difficulties.

UK Nationals can find the most up to date information on actions they may need to take on GOV.UK for their country.