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Alistair Darling: New measures to help jobless


A new work incentive designed to help job hunters by cutting the red tape and barriers they face is to be brought forward announced Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Social Security today.

‘Rapid Reclaim’ is designed to tackle one of the most common complaints from those wanting to take up temporary work – the fear that they will face problems if they re-claim benefit after the job has end. Now it’s introduction is being fast tracked and it will be available from October of this year.

The announcement came on the day when Alistair Darling also outlined a number of other initiatives coming into effect next week.

“Today we have announced Jobcentre Plus as the name for the new organisation that will streamline service for Britain’s job hunters” said Alistair Darling today.

“And next week a number of initiatives come into effect that will continue our drive to ease their job hunting. These include a £100 Job Grant for some benefit claimants aged 25 and over who move into work and new ‘run-on’s’ where people can continue to get help with their mortgages or rent for an initial period after they have started their new job.

“I am also bringing forward the introduction of a new work incentive called Rapid Re-claim.This was originally planned for April 2002 but instead will now be introduced in October of this year.

“It will address one of the most common complaints from those wanting to take up temporary work – the fear that they will face problems If they re-claim benefit after the job has ended. It will help those taking up short-term, temporary or casual work and people who have a break in their claim of up to 12 weeks for other reasons.

“That means, for instance, people undertaking civic duties such as Jury Service will automatically be able to apply through the Rapid Reclaim process.

“We are all about tackling the real needs of people of working age. We are modernising our services – Jobcentre Plus – and while incentives such as these will help remove the barriers and give people the confidence they need to try out work”.

The full package of work incentives outlined today include:

  • a £100 Job Grant for people aged 25 or over receiving Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disability Allowance (or any combination of these benefits) for at least a year and who move from welfare into work.( Lone Parents will continue to get the two week Income Support Lone Parent run-on);
  • an increase in the higher rate earnings disregard from £15 to £20 per week for groups such as lone parents, disabled people and carers on IS/JSA;
  • a new four week run on of Income Support Mortgage Interest (ISMI) for those who qualify, ensuring that payments continue for the first four weeks after starting work;
  • the introduction of a 52 week linking rule for ISMI payments for the majority of claimants who take up work. This means that people whose new jobs don’t work out, or who move about the work place or take short term contract work, will be able to requalify immediately for help with mortgage payments if they return to the benefit within a year. They will not have to wait again for nine months to re-gain entitlement to this help;
  • Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Extended Payments will no longer require a formal claim. Payments will be made automatically for the first four weeks after moving into work;
  • Improvements to the two week Lone Parent Run-On (LPRO) so that Income Support will continue automatically for the first two weeks in work;
  • Lone Parents on Income Support who take up training through the New Deal for Lone Parents (NDLP) will receive an extra £15 a week;
  • NDLP participants will be able to get help towards the cost of registered childcare if they start a job for less then 16 hours a week;

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