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Income Support: Lone Parents

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what employment support through Jobcentre Plus has been available to lone parents with children under the age of 12 since the changes to the eligibility rules for income support came into effect in November 2008; what such support will be available to lone parents with (a) children under the age of 10 when the changes to the eligibility rules for income support come into effect in October 2009 and (b) children under the age of seven when the changes to the eligibility rules for income support come into effect in November 2010; and if he will make a statement. (246547)

In addition to the support that every jobseeker on JSA gets from 24 November 2008 when these changes started, lone parents also continue to have voluntary access to additional comprehensive support and advice under the new deal for lone parents from the start of their jobseeker’s allowance claim, as well as other support from Jobcentre Plus to help them prepare for, enter and remain in work. This includes pre-employment support via training opportunities and in-work support via in-work credit, Jobcentre Plus personal adviser support and the in-work emergency discretion fund.

If a lone parent is still claiming jobseeker’s allowance after six months, they will enter supported job-search, where the full range of new deal for lone parents help will still be available. However, if a lone parent reaches 12 months on jobseeker’s allowance they will switch to flexible new deal provision which will provide job-search support tailored to the specific needs of lone parents and address-related barriers to employment. At this point, voluntary access to new deal for lone parents will not be necessary.

The aforementioned support will also become available to lone parents as the eligibility rule changes in October 2009 and November 2010 affect them.