DWP: Touchbase – 26 March 2021

Roundup of recent DWP announcements


Boost for jobseekers as new jobcentres offer more frontline support

Jobseekers across the UK will have easier access to more frontline support as 80 towns and cities nationwide welcome new temporary jobcentres.

The additional sites are the first phase of the programme to expand this support in response to the pandemic, with dozens more expected to follow, to help millions of jobseekers find their next role and get back on track.

The new buildings will bolster the DWP estate, joining those that have been open throughout the pandemic, helping ensure staff can remain COVID secure in line with latest government guidelines.

The sites, some of which are already up and running, will house some of country’s 13,500 new Work Coaches – 10,000 of which have already been recruited.

Renting and Universal Credit: A guide for landlords and letting agents

DWP has published a new Universal Credit fact sheet for landlords and letting agents.

The fact sheet highlights the support that’s on offer to help claimants pay their rent on time and in full. It aims to encourage landlords and letting agents to consider all tenants in receipt of Housing Support on an individual basis; because everyone deserves a safe and secure home, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefits.

Please consider sharing the fact sheet with your networks. A Welsh language version is also available.

Please note, although the support available varies across England, Scotland and Wales, the general messaging in this product applies to all, with the exception of Northern Ireland which manages its own version of Universal Credit.

Supporting Families Programme

The next phase of the Government’s programme to support some of the most vulnerable families in society launches today, 26 March, backed by £165 million funding.

The newly named ‘Supporting Families’ programme, previously known as the ‘Troubled Families’ programme, includes work to support people to leave abusive relationships, get the right joined-up support for those with mental health issues and help people to find work – all part of the Government’s comprehensive programme to support and unite communities.

Rollout of video assessments for disability benefits

From this week disabled people could have a video assessment as the technology is rolled out across England, Scotland and Wales.

People who have a Work Capability Assessment for Universal Credit or New-Style Employment and Support Allowance or make a new claim to Personal Independence Payment or the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit could be invited for this type of assessment.

Video assessments will take place alongside existing telephone and paper-based assessments, which have been carried out throughout the pandemic. Face-to-face assessments for disability benefits currently remain suspended, but kept under review, aligned with the latest public health guidance.

Video Relay Service reminder

DWP has extended the Video Relay Service (VRS) for British Sign Language (BSL) users to connect with all service lines.

This service allows customers to make an inbound call to DWP via a British Sign Language interpreter using a video connection. There is no need for anyone to be in the same location and customers do not have to book the service in advance.

Find out more about using Video Relay Service, watch the video and download the app.

Annual Households Below Average Income and Separated Families Statistics 2019/20

This week DWP published annual statistics covering 2019/20 regarding Households Below Average Income (HBAI) and Separated Families. Overall, the statistics reinforce that the economy entered the pandemic in a strong position, with average household incomes seeing their strongest annual growth for nearly 20 years in 2019/20.

Less than 100 days to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme

EU, EEA or Swiss citizens or their family members resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, now have less than 100 days left to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to ensure they can continue to live, work, study, access free healthcare and benefits here after 30 June 2021.

Please consider sharing this message on social media to encourage everyone to apply at: gov.uk/EUSettlementScheme.

Other assets and formats are available on the Home Office community group pages.

Women’s health – call for evidence

The Government has launched a 12 week call for evidence to better understand women’s experiences of the health and care system.

The call for evidence will form the basis of a landmark government-led Women’s Health Strategy, to improve the health and wellbeing of women across England and place women’s voices at the centre of their care.

By better understanding women’s experiences, the Government can ensure key parts of the health service are meeting women’s needs as they should be.

The call for evidence has been designed to be user friendly, quick to fill in and easily accessible from people’s mobiles. People who live with and care for women, organisations with experience of providing services for women and those with an expertise in women’s health are also encouraged to share their views.