DWP: Touchbase – Fri 10 Feb

Roundup of recent DWP announcements 

Support for bereaved families extended 

Bereaved cohabitees with dependent children can now claim additional financial support. Following Parliamentary approval of the draft Bereavement Benefits (Remedial) Order 2022, parents who were not married or in a civil partnership with their late partner can now claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance or the higher rate of Bereavement Support Payment.  

Some people may be eligible for backdated payments if their partner died before the law was changed on 9 February 2023. 

More details on how to claim can be found on GOV.UK

Afghan and Ukrainian Sure Start Maternity Grant applications with pre-flight children

Approval has been given to change Sure Start Maternity Grant guidance.

This is to apply an exemption to people with a pre-flight child or children fleeing Afghanistan in connection with the collapse of the Afghan Government; and Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion.

An exercise to review qualifying cases previously disallowed under the Sure Start Maternity Grant ‘first child only’ policy has commenced, and if all the other eligibility criteria is satisfied, payments will be issued over the coming weeks.

More information on the Sure Start Maternity Grant can be found on GOV.UK.

If you have specific enquiries about Afghan and Ukrainian Sure Start Maternity Grant applications please contact: Allan.Whittaker@dwp.gov.uk

Changes to Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET)

On 30 January 2023, the Government raised the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET), which means more than 120,000 low-earning Universal Credit (UC) claimants will start to move from the Light Touch regime.

This will see them move from not needing to engage with the Jobcentre, into regular contact with a dedicated work coach. Those impacted will move into the Intensive Work Search group. The AET is a threshold of earnings from employment that determines the level of work coach support that a UC claimant receives.

These changes are part of the Government’s plan to help UC claimants to earn more and increase participation in the labour market. An online digital explainer and further information is available in the press release.

Part of the changes include regular, fortnightly appointments with a work coach as well as claimants having access to the full range of Jobcentre Plus support, including the Flexible Support Fund to help address any barriers to progression. Work coaches will schedule these meetings outside of a claimant’s working hours. A claimant can limit their work availability if they have a health condition or have caring responsibilities – either for a disabled person or young children.

Further information about UC and how it impacts employers is available on the Understanding Universal Credit pages.