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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/touchbase-dwp-news-about-work-working-age-benefits-and-services/april-2019-touchbase-edition-133
Jobcentre Plus arrangements over Easter
Jobcentre Plus opening times are different over Easter.
|Date||Easter opening times|
|Friday 19 April||Offices and phone lines are closed|
|Monday 22 April||Offices and phone lines are closed|
|From Tuesday 23 April||Offices and phone lines are open as usual|
To make sure people receive their payments on a day when Jobcentre Plus offices are open, arrangements have been made to make some payments early.
|Expected payment date||Date benefits will be paid|
|Friday 19 April||Thursday 18 April|
|Monday 22 April||Thursday 18 April|
If the expected payment date is not shown, customers will get their money on their usual payment date.
Further changes to Universal Credit
Claimants with 3 or more children
Claimants with 3 or more children can now make new claims to Universal Credit. Claimants will be entitled to an additional amount for any child born before 6 April 2017.
Universal Credit will not pay for a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017, unless special circumstances apply.
Read more about Universal Credit and families with more than 2 children.
Habitual Residence Test
Some claimants who have an Habitual Residence Test as part of their Universal Credit claim will now get a decision more quickly, thanks to a new tool that work coaches use.
Payments to corporate appointees now include the relevant claimant National Insurance numbers. This helps appointees who are supporting more than one claim identify the payments.
Calling Universal Credit phone lines
Now that Universal Credit has fully rolled out, we are updating our phone lines for Universal Credit and legacy benefit queries.
If you need to contact us by phone, check the Universal Credit guide before ringing to ensure you have up to date contact information and advice. If ringing on behalf of a claimant you will need their permission for you to act for them, see Universal Credit consent and disclosure of information.
Listen carefully to the full list of automated options as these are likely to have changed. Choosing the right option ensures you are routed to those that can help with your particular enquiry.
‘.gsi’ has been removed from Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) email addresses.
From 31 March 2019 if you use any existing DWP email addresses, you will need to change these from @dwp.gsi.gov.uk to @dwp.gov.uk.
Any messages sent to a DWP ‘.gsi’ address after 31 March 2019 will continue to work for a limited period of time to help with a smooth transition. You will however receive an automated email response asking you to use the new address.
Taking stock with the mid-life MOT
A mid-life MOT website showing people where they can receive guidance on their skills, health and wealth has been launched by DWP.
The website, which works in partnership with Public Health England, the Money Advice Service and the National Careers Service, includes advice for people who want a financial and physical stock-take, at a crucial point in their careers.
As well as launching the website, DWP has worked with Business in the Community on a guide for small and medium-sized enterprises, showing how they can facilitate mid-life MOTs for their staff.
Pensions dashboards given go ahead
Pensions dashboards, free, user-friendly services bringing users’ facts and figures about their pensions and potential retirement income together in one place online, were given the go ahead by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on 4 April.
The government’s plans include:
- a commitment to bring forward legislation at the earliest opportunity to compel all pension providers to make consumers’ data available to them through dashboards
- an expectation that the majority of schemes will be ready to ‘go live’ with their data within a 3 to 4 year window
- a confirmation that State Pension information will be included as soon as possible
- reconnecting people with ‘lost’ pension pots, benefitting savers and providers
Read the response to the pensions dashboards consultation.
Read the press release.
Ten million people automatically enrolled into a workplace pension
Thanks to revolutionary reform, 10 million people can look forward to a more secure future and a better retirement.
Since 2012, the workplace pension campaign has been successfully helping to change attitudes and behaviours towards retirement saving through a workplace pension, by highlighting the benefits to both employees and employers. It has encouraged employees to see their workplace pension as something they own and should get to know. It has also encouraged employers to get to know their statutory responsibilities.
Have your say on disability issues
The Office for Disability Issues is seeking people to join the new Regional Stakeholder Network, which will aim to bring the views of disabled people and local disability organisations closer to government.
It will create face-to-face forums in 9 areas across England, providing a channel for people to share their views about policies and services that affect them.
The areas are:
Yorkshire and the Humber
East of England
Find out more on how to join.
Mentoring circles in jobcentres
In October 2017, the Prime Minister published the Race Disparity Audit to highlight how race affects people’s lives. She promised that her government would explain or change the disparities.
Working in collaboration with Business in the Community, DWP introduced mentoring circles in jobcentres across 20 Race Disparity Audit challenge areas. The initiative saw 85 employers from 27 national companies support over 500 jobseekers from ethnic minority backgrounds to improve their employability skills.
On 17 January, the Minister of State for Employment announced the expansion of mentoring circles. It has been available to all young jobseekers in London since March, and will be available nationally from April.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are an employer and would like to get involved in the mentoring circles.