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Employment Schemes

Volume 498: debated on Monday 26 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the eligibility criteria are for individuals seeking to be referred to (a) Workstep, (b) the Job Introduction Scheme and (c) Work Preparation. (295028)

[holding answer 22 October 2009]: To be eligible for Workstep an individual must be disabled, as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. This Act defines a disabled person as someone who has ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities'. In addition, Workstep customers must also fall within one of the Workstep eligibility codes. This information is in the following table:

Workstep eligibility codes




On incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance/national insurance credits only and/or income support, or on employment and support allowance


On jobseeker's allowance and/or national insurance credits only, for six months or more in a current or 'linked' job seeking period


On jobseeker's allowance, and/or national insurance credits only, for less than six months but have been in receipt of incapacity benefit or employment and support allowance, immediately before claiming jobseeker's allowance


A former supported employee who has progressed but needs to return to the programme within two years or has left for any other reasons and returns within one year


Currently in work but at serious risk of losing their job as a result of disability, even after the employer has made all reasonable adjustments and considered other available support options


A recent/prospective education leaver who does not fall within Codes A to E above, but for whom there is clear evidence of a need for support in work


A customer who has been granted access to Workstep through a discretionary decision, where a full business case has been sent to the Jobcentre Plus district third party provision manager and approval has been granted


A customer who is receiving a war disablement pension or help from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

Note: Two or more job seeking periods can be ‘linked’ and treated as one if they are separated only by: a linked period (for any length of time) comprising incapacity benefit, invalid care allowance, maternity allowance or training allowance; a break in an individual's claim, where the claim is terminated for not more than 12 weeks between any two linked job seeking periods; any length of time spent on jury service. Source: Jobcentre Plus Workstep Programme Guidance, Chapter 3, Eligibility and Referrals.

Disability employment advisers also have the discretion to refer a disabled person to a suitable provider if they are satisfied that all other options have been considered and that Workstep is the most appropriate option.

The Job Introduction Scheme is available in cases where an employer or their prospective employee has genuine concerns about the individual's ability to manage the job due to their disability. For the Job Introduction Scheme to be considered, the applicant must be ‘disabled' as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The job can be full or part-time, must be expected to last for at least six months (including the Job Introduction Scheme period) and must be a genuine job (not specifically created to take advantage of the Job Introduction Scheme). Applicants do not need to be in receipt of any eligible benefits to apply.

In order to benefit from Work Preparation programmes, customers must be unemployed and:

be on the disability employment adviser's caseload, regardless of employment or benefit status;

have a defined job goal;

have disability-related needs when making a final choice of occupation or looking for work effectively;

be likely to be capable of working or undertaking training by the end of the programme;

be at least 16 years old.

The programme may also be able to help customers to retain their current work, where there is a real risk of the customer losing their job and Work Preparation will significantly help them to retain the same job or move to a more suitable alternative job.