Roundup of recent DWP announcements
Help for pensioners with Cost of Living
Over 11 million pensioners have started to receive payments of up to £600 to help with their energy bills this winter. This includes the Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, a top up to regular Winter Fuel Payments of an additional £300 per household. These are being paid by the Government over the next two months, the vast majority automatically. There is more information on Winter Fuel Payments eligibility and how to claim on GOV.UK.
The money will appear in bank statements with the payment reference starting with the customer’s National Insurance number followed by ‘DWP WFP’ for people in Great Britain, or ‘DFC WFP’ for people in Northern Ireland.
Pensioners can also check if they are eligible for Pension Credit – worth an average £3,500 a year – using the Pension Credit calculator. We urge people to apply as soon as possible, and no later than 18 December to ensure they qualify for an extra £324 cost of living help.
Recoverable Hardship Payments
Claimants will soon be able to ask DWP to review a previous request to stop (waive) Recoverable Hardship Payment (RHP) repayments made between 1 January 2014 and 11 January 2021.
Recoverable Hardship Payments provide money to claimants who have seen their benefits reduced by sanctions or a fraud penalty. Claimants have to apply for them with evidence of need, and each request is reviewed individually. Hardship payments must be repaid by the claimant. However, claimants can request for the recovery of these payments to be waived, and must provide further evidence to show that paying back the money is either unaffordable or would affect their or their family’s health or wellbeing.
An exercise has been started to look at previous waiver requests that took place prior to 11 January 2021. A guidance page on GOV.UK explains the process and asks claimants to share evidence if they feel their RHP should be waived. Applications can only be considered if a request was made to waive the RHP between 1 January 2014 and 11 January 2021 and was refused at the time. With the evidence, Debt Management will check the claimant’s circumstances to see if they would have qualified.
The advert is now live to enable people to begin gathering evidence. The application window will open on 19 December 2022.
National Older Workers Week – 50 PLUS Champions
To mark National Older Workers Week DWP has been organising jobs fairs across the country targeted at over 50s jobseekers, and announced this week that all 50 PLUS Champions are now in place across England, Scotland and Wales.
Each area has specialised, local staff dedicated to helping this age group into work. They work directly with Jobcentres and employers to remove any barriers that are keeping older workers out of the jobs market and aim to change attitudes about hiring over 50s as well as matching jobseekers with opportunities that suit their skills.
DWP is also supporting older jobseekers with the introduction of the Jobcentre Mid-Life MOT service which will soon start to roll out. The service encourages people to take stock and make plans for their work, wealth and wellbeing into the future.
For help with your recruitment needs, please see recruitment advice and support on GOV.UK, where Employer Services teams can connect employers to a local Employer Adviser.
Automatic Enrolment – employer workplace pension duties
Automatic Enrolment is a continuous responsibility for all employers, from ensuring they maintain pensions contributions to completing re-enrolment. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) provides information for employers to help them prevent errors.
We ask for your support in driving awareness of employers’ ongoing automatic enrolment duties. Further details on signing up to receive communication updates from The Pensions Regulator can also be found on the TPR website.