DWP updates how benefits are affected by redundancy – what are you entitled to?

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The DWP updated its guidance on claiming certain benefits yesterday where people have been made redundant. The Government has clarified claimants may be entitled to JSA if they are working less than 16 hours a week.

The DWP explained any money the claimant gets (or could have got) by claiming benefits must be during their notice period for it to be deducted from their notice pay.

It explained: “If your employer is insolvent, you can apply to the Government for money your employer owes you, including redundancy pay and notice pay.

“If you claim for notice pay, any money you get (or could have got) by claiming benefits during your notice period will be deducted from your payment.”

It should be noted workers may also be eligible to apply for payments from the Insolvency Service if they were put on furlough and then made redundant because their employer is now insolvent.

In the same update, the DWP explained if a person has lost their job, including through voluntary redundancy, they may be able to get:

  • New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if they’re under state pension age, unemployed or are working less than 16 hours a week on average, and have made enough National Insurance contributions, usually over the last two to three years – their savings and partner’s income will not affect how much they get
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if they’re under state pension age, have a disability or health condition that affects how much they can work, and have made enough National Insurance contributions, usually over the last two to three years – their savings and partner’s income will not affect how much they get
  • Universal Credit if they or their partner are under state pension age and they have £16,000 or less in savings – they might be able to get it at the same time as New Style JSA or New Style ESA
  • Pension Credit if both they and their partner have reached state pension age or one of them is getting Housing Benefit for people over state pension age

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JSA can be applied for by those who are looking for work and up to £59.20 will be awarded to those who are aged up to 24.

For claimants who are 25 or over, up to £74.70 per week will be paid out.

To be eligible for JSA, claimants will need to have both worked as an employee and paid class one National Insurance contributions, usually in the last two to three years.

On top of this, claimants will also need to:

  • Be 18 or over (although there are some exceptions if they’re 16 or 17 and a Jobcentre Plus will help with this)
  • Be under the state pension age
  • Not be in full-time education
  • Be available for work
  • Not be working at the moment, or be working less than 16 hours per week on average
  • Not have an illness or disability which stops you from working
  • Live in England, Scotland or Wales
  • Have the right to work in the UK

JSA provides a fortnightly payment and is one of the few state benefits that can be claimed at the same time as Universal Credit.

Applications for JSA can be made online and to make a claim, applicants will need to have certain details at the ready such as their National Insurance number, bank details and employment details.

So long as a claimant is eligible, they will be contacted by the DWP within 10 days to schedule a phone interview.

During this interview, claimants will be asked some questions to confirm their identity and then they’ll make an agreement about what steps they’ll take to look for work in what is known as a “Claimant Commitment”.

This Claimant Commitment could include details on what the claimant needs to do to look for work – for example registering with recruitment agencies or writing a CV.

Additionally, it will detail how many hours the claimant should spend looking for work per week.

On top of this, claimants will need to attend appointments with a work coach every one to two weeks to monitor their progress.

These rules will need to be noted carefully as if a claimant does not follow them, they may be issued with a sanction which could stop their payments.

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