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Employment Support Allowance

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department is taking to ensure that autistic people are able to access a third party advocate during employment support allowance applications. (295220)

The process designed by Jobcentre Plus for claiming employment and support allowance encourages and fully supports the use of a third party advocate or customer representatives where someone with autism requires assistance with their claim.

Most claims for employment and support allowance are made by phone and initial scripted questions are used to establish whether or not the caller is claiming benefit on behalf of the customer and has their consent. Where customers are likely to have difficulty claiming by phone, claims can be made by post or by face to face interview and with the assistance of relatives, friends or other representatives. Where someone is unable to manage their own affairs Jobcentre Plus can appoint a suitable person to make the claim.