DWP: Touchbase – Mon 3 April

Roundup of recent DWP announcements 

People in their final year of life to have disability benefits fast-tracked  

New legislation enables vital financial support to be accessed earlier, helping provide financial peace of mind. 

Thousands more people nearing the end of their lives now have fast-tracked access to financial support through the benefits system thanks to legislation coming into effect today (Monday 3 April). 

The change means people who are thought to be in their final year of life are able to receive vital financial support through the ‘Special Rules’ six months earlier than they were previously.  

Those who are eligible are not required to attend a medical assessment, and in the majority of cases, they will receive the highest rate of benefits. 

This applies to Personal Independent Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA). It follows the same changes that were put in place for Universal Credit (UC) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in April 2022. 

Read the press release   

Watch the explainer video

More information about claiming benefits for people nearing end of life

First 2023/24 Cost of Living Payment dates announced 
Millions of UK households will receive £301 directly from DWP between 25 April and 17 May. 

This is the first of three payments totalling up to £900 for those eligible and on means-tested benefits, such as Universal Credit or Pension Credit, in 2023/24. This follows the £650 Cost of Living Payment made to over eight million people in 2022. 

There will also be further payments worth £150 for eligible disabled people and £300 for pensioners later this year, meaning the most vulnerable can receive up to £1,350 in direct payments. 

The £301 payment will be sent out automatically and directly to recipients, meaning those eligible do not need to apply or do anything to receive it. The payment reference for bank accounts will be DWP COLP, along with the claimant’s National Insurance number. 

Read the full press release 

State Pension age review published

The second review of State Pension age has been published by the Government. It has concluded the State Pension age rise from 66 to 67 will take place, as planned, by the end of 2028.  

The Government plans to have a further review within two years of the next Parliament to reconsider the rise to age 68. 

This gives the Government appropriate time to take into account evidence which is not yet available on the long-term impact of recent challenges, including the Covid pandemic and global inflationary pressures. These events bring a level of uncertainty in relation to the current data on life expectancy, labour markets and the public finances.  

Read the full press release

New review to boost employment prospects of autistic people 
A new review designed to boost the employment prospects of autistic people has been launched by the Government to spread opportunity, close the employment gap and grow the economy. 

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP, has appointed Sir Robert Buckland KC MP to lead the review, which will consider how the Government can work with employers to help more autistic people realise their potential and get into work. 

People with autism have particularly low employment rates – with fewer than 3 in 10 in work – but the Buckland Review of Autism Employment, supported by charity Autistica and DWP, is aiming to change that. 

The Review will ask businesses, employment organisations, specialist support groups and autistic people to help identify the barriers to securing and retaining work and progressing with their careers. 

Read the press release 

Universal Credit expanded to more tax credit claimants 

From April 2023, more tax credit claimants will be asked to claim Universal Credit (UC) in order to continue to receive the benefit they are entitled to. This change is part of plans to streamline and simplify the benefits system.  

Households that receive tax credits only will be the first to be asked to make the move to UC. Those affected will receive a letter from DWP notifying them of the action they need to take, and the support available to help them.

In most cases, people will be better off following a move from legacy benefits to UC. However, where an individual’s entitlement to UC would be lower than their legacy benefits entitlement, they may be entitled to a top-up payment known as Transitional Protection. This means that their UC entitlement will be the same as their legacy benefit entitlement at the point they move. 

From April we will be expanding to Avon, Somerset and Gloucester. We will expand further in May, bringing onboard East London and Cheshire.  

Read the full press release

Change to Fuel Direct ongoing consumption 

From 1 April 2023, energy suppliers can resume requesting new deductions or increases to existing deductions for Fuel Direct ongoing consumption payments, but must have the claimant’s consent first. For new requests, suppliers must also seek a claimant’s consent before the request is sent to DWP.  

In exceptional circumstances, when an energy supplier has exhausted all methods to contact a claimant, who has an existing arrangement, they can notify DWP. DWP will attempt to contact the claimant and advise them to contact the energy supplier.  

Claimants can end their arrangements by contacting DWP

Pension Credit – campaign update

Our newly launched Pension Credit TV advert is showing across a range of channels in varied spots including films, soaps, documentaries and live sport. Designed to encourage Pension Credit claims, the advert also runs alongside radio, print, search engine marketing, social and display adverts.  

Our promotional materials for stakeholders have been refreshed too – please continue to support the campaign by using the revised toolkit

The broader campaign burst has been live since 6 March, and running on commercial radio stations in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as in national press.    

Emergency Alerts campaign 

Emergency Alerts is a UK Government service that will warn you if there is a danger to life nearby. In an emergency, your mobile phone or tablet will receive an alert with advice about how to stay safe only where there is a risk to life, either locally or nationally. This could include public health emergencies, severe floods, fires and industrial incidents. 

The service will be sending out a test alert on Sunday 23 April. The test alert will be sent to all compatible phones in the UK. It will clearly indicate that no action is required and that this is a test of the system.  

We would really appreciate your support in spreading the word about this new service and the test taking place. A stakeholder toolkit has been created with a factsheet and assets for you to share amongst your colleagues, customers and networks.  

Find out more 

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland assets 

Women experiencing menopause symptoms to get cheaper HRT 

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has introduced a new Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC) to reduce the cost of certain hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions. Around 400,000 women across England will get better access to menopause support – saving hundreds of pounds and making treatment more accessible. 

DHSC are keen to publicise this far and wide and have produced a commuinications toolkit for organisations to share with their networks. 

Read the press release 

More information  

Reminder – Jobcentre Plus arrangements over Easter 

Jobcentre Plus opening times are different over Easter. 

  • Friday 7 April: offices and phonelines are closed  
  • Monday 10 April: offices and phonelines are closed  

From 11 April offices and phonelines are open as usual. 

To make sure people get their payments on a day when Jobcentre Plus offices are open, some payments will be paid early: 

  • If the expected payment date is Friday 7 April, benefits will be paid on Thursday 6 April 
  • If the expected payment date is Monday 10 April, benefits will be paid on Thursday 6 April 

If the expected payment date is not shown, customers will get their money on their usual payment date.