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Jobseeker's Allowance

Volume 300: debated on Wednesday 5 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many people have been refused all jobseeker's allowance payments after interview; and what proportion this is of those interviewed. [14216]

Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Leigh Lewis to Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, dated 5 November 1997:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about how many people have been refused all Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) after interview, and what proportion this is of those interviewed. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Agency.
The Employment Service conducts many different types of interview with jobseekers. These start at the new claims stage and develop as unemployment lengthens. The new jobseeker's interview is important in establishing whether jobseekers meet the labour market conditions for receiving JSA. It is normally at this stage that a Jobseeker's Agreement is drawn up and jobseekers are made aware of their responsibilities in order to receive JSA. Thereafter, entitlement to JSA is reviewed at interviews every fortnight. We also use these opportunities to offer jobseekers further advice and help in their search for work. Jobseekers are also asked to attend a Restart Interview at regular six monthly intervals at which they are offered further advice and information about employment and training opportunities. Beyond this interviews may take place for a variety of other reasons.
Questions about a jobseeker's entitlement to JSA could arise at any of the interviews referred to above. In these instances, there may be a reference to an independent Adjudication Officer for a decision on benefit entitlement.
Statistics on the numbers and types of decisions given by ES Adjudication Officers on labour market questions are recorded in a quarterly summary, the 'Analysis of Adjudication Officers' Decisions', a copy of which is held in the Library. As questions about a person's entitlement can arise during different types of interviews, it would be misleading to compare the total figures of disallowances with the total numbers of ES interviews in any given period. JSA claims can be disallowed on labour market grounds or because of failure to meet the conditions of benefit receipt. However, some broad indication of volumes can be given by comparing the total number of JSA new claims with the number of awards of "nil benefits". This means simply the number of JSA new claims that, following assessment by Benefits Agency who are responsible for JSA payment, result in no payment award. This could be for a wide variety of reasons for inadequate contributions, payments from previous employment, etc, to failure to meet the labour market conditions for receipt of JSA.
In the period from 1 April 1997 to 30 September 1997, 1,571,325 claims to JSA were processed and there were 239,567 awards of nil benefits. These figures are based primarily on information held by the JSA Payments System. They include a small number of claims held on the earlier ISCS system because they linked back to an earlier Income Support claim.
I hope this is helpful.