Roundup of recent DWP announcements
Fit note changes
From 1 July nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists will be able to certify fit notes in addition to doctors. These professionals should be working within general practice or hospitals as access to the new version of the fit note is limited to these settings.
Guidance and training is available to ensure only those professionals with the appropriate knowledge and experience issue fit notes. Updated guidance for employers and patients is also available on GOV.UK. This change will be rolled out from 1 July as relevant systems are updated across general practice.
Accessing a free TV licence made easier for low-income pensioners
New measures to save over-75s on Pension Credit from having to obtain paperwork in order to get a free TV licence have been outlined. Currently those affected are required to obtain and share documentation with the BBC to prove they are in receipt of Pension Credit. Under the new plans – expected to come into effect next year – the BBC will be able to verify automatically whether a person applying for a free TV Licence is on Pension Credit with DWP. This change will support eligible pensioners, struggling to keep on top of their bills, to claim the £159 annual saving more quickly and with less hassle.
The Government will not be sharing customer data with the BBC, but instead will be verifying whether free licence applicants fit the BBC’s eligibility criteria. For more information, please visit GOV.UK
Help with the costs of childcare
A new cross-government Childcare Choices advertising campaign has launched this week.
The digital and radio campaign will seek to ease the pressure on working families by encouraging take up of the range of government support available to help with the costs of childcare.
The Childcare Choices campaign brings together all the support in one place, and covers:
• Universal Credit
• Tax-Free Childcare
• 30/15 hours free childcare
More information about each of these offers can be found on the Childcare Choices website