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Unemployment Benefit

Volume 31: debated on Friday 12 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment what questions are asked of unemployment payment benefit claimants on form UB671; and for what purposes the answers are required.

The form UB671 is issued to unemployment benefit claimants who have indicated on their basic claim form that they are placing some restrictions upon their availability for work. The questions are:

Are you able and willing to take a full-time job?
If "NO" please give the reason and state against each clay the hours you can work.
Can you start a new job immediately?
If "NO" please say why and when you can start.
Are you willing to take a job in your usual occupation?
Are you willing to take some other kind of job?
If "YES" please say what.
What was your weekly wage or salary, before deduction, in your last job?
What is the minimum weekly wage or salary you are willing to take?
Are you willing to travel anywhere to work?
If "NO" please state where you are willing to work (eg "home-town only", "within daily travelling distance")
Do you have your own transport?
Do you have any children or anyone else who needs your care during working hours?
If "YES" will you be able to make arrangements for their care if you get a job?
The answers are required to determine whether a claimant is available for work and therefore eligible for unemployment benefit.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what changes have been made to the procedures for questioning claimants for unemployment benefit and to the question asked; and why these were made.

To qualify for Unemployment Benefit claimants must be available for work. Following the Government's decision to make registration for work at jobcentres voluntary, the initial test of availability has been transferred from the jobcentre to the unemployment benefit office. As a result the test is now written rather than oral, but the law on this subject has not been changed and the questions remain much the same as they were before.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what questions are asked of those claiming unemployment benefit concerning the day care of their children; and for what purpose;(2) what guidance is given to officers of unemployment benefit offices concerning the advice they should give to claimants about the care of children.

Claimants who indicate some restriction on their availability for work are asked questions about the care of their children in order to decide whether the restrictions they are placing on their availability prevent them having reasonable prospects of getting work. The questions are:

Do you have any children or anyone else who needs your care during working hours?
If "YES" will you be able to make arrangements for their care if you get a job?
It is not possible to give standard guidance to unemployment benefit office staff about advice they might give as the circumstances of individual cases differ widely. However, staff are expected to treat such issues as helpfully and as sensitively as possible.