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Unemployment Benefits

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he last reviewed his Department’s procedures for providing assistance to those moving in and out of short-term employment. (255510)

[holding answer 9 February 2009]: Jobcentre Plus provides support for all jobseeker’s allowance claimants from day one of a claim. This can include advice on effective job-search strategies, matching people to the many thousands of new vacancies that come up every day and, where appropriate, help with writing a CV, filling in job applications, or with accessing opportunities to refresh or develop new skills.

We have introduced key changes to the jobseeker’s allowance rapid reclaim process. Jobseekers can now apply for benefit under the rapid reclaim process up to 26 weeks after a previous claim to the same benefit, rather than within 12 weeks as before. As much of the relevant information is already held, rapid reclaim cases can be processed more quickly, though this is dependent on the jobseeker’s circumstances remaining the same as when they left benefit.

Temporary jobs can provide valuable work experience and can often be a stepping stone to more permanent employment. Rapid reclaim supports the incentive to take up employment, including short-term periods of full-time work, by easing concerns about reapplying for benefits should the work suddenly come to an end.