Stephen Timms – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Stephen Timms on 2015-01-15.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what changes he has made to his Department’s policies or procedures in response to those representations about the adequacy of his Department’s hardship payments scheme.

Esther McVey

Following the recommendations of the Oakley Review of sanctions (published July 2014), Jobcentre Plus offices have improved claimants’ awareness of hardship when a sanction applies to their benefit.

Jobcentre Plus has undertaken a comprehensive review of the Hardship process. This has focused on strengthening information provided to claimants throughout their engagement with us. All claimants are informed about the application process before a sanction decision is made and before any benefit reduction. Assistance is also provided with the application process where required. We have also sped up the hardship process so all payments are made within 3 days.

Vulnerable claimants can continue to apply for hardship payments immediately.