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DWP Coronavirus Touchbase special – 23 March 2020
March 23, 2020
Changes to jobcentre appointments and Universal Credit 
People receiving benefits no longer need to attend jobcentre appointments. People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended. These changes will be in place for 3 months from 19 March 2020. Anyone already claiming Universal Credit who thinks they may have been affected by coronavirus, should contact their work coach using the  online journal, orcalling the Universal Credit helpline.   On Friday the Chancellor announced that the standard rate in Universal Credit and tax credits will be increased by £20 a week for one year from 6 April.  People applying for Universal Credit, Employment Support Allowance or other benefits should not go to a jobcentre but apply for them onlineStay at home, protect the NHS, save lives
Information for employers and businesses 
The government has announced an extensive package of financial measures, including the Job Retention Scheme, a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium enterprises, and deferred VAT and Income Tax payments.  Employers with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay for employees unable to work because of coronavirus. This refund will be for up to 2 weeks per employee. Employers are urged to use discretion about what evidence, if any, is asked for when making decisions about sick pay. If evidence is required, employees can get an Isolation Note from NHS 111 online if they have symptoms, or the NHS website if they live with someone that has symptoms. Coronavirus Business Support The business support website is available to help businesses find out how to access support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the scheme opens and how to apply. Advertising job vacancies For businesses that find themselves needing to increase workforce as a result of the outbreak, such as food logistics, preparation and retail, please remember to post vacancies on Find a Job
Suspension of face to face assessments for sickness and disability benefits 
Face to face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits has been suspended. This is being taken as a precautionary measure to protect vulnerable people from unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus. We will ensure those who are entitled to a benefit continue to receive support, and that new claimants are able to access the safety net. This affects claimants of Personal Independence Payment, those on Employment and Support Allowance and some on Universal Credit, as well as recipients of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. These changes will be in place for 3 months from 17 March 2020. The suspension of face-to-face assessments also covers new claims to those benefits. Find out more
£1bn package of additional support for renters 
The Government has announced a package of measures to protect tenants and landlords affected by coronavirus. Renters will receive nearly £1bn additional support, through increases in the generosity of housing benefit and Universal Credit.  From April 2020, Local Housing Allowance rates will pay for at least 30% of market rents in each area. Other measures to protect tenants and landlords include: Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place.No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis.Landlords will also be protected by extending the three-month mortgage holiday to Buy to Let mortgages. 
 As a result, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time.   Find out more
The current NHS guidelines on coronavirus, including advice on those who should stay at home  Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do   Online isolation notes launched – providing proof of coronavirus absence from work  Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision  
DWP Touchbase: Edition 137
September 19, 2019

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:  

  • State Pensions for UK nationals in the EEA or Switzerland
  • Claiming Universal Credit without a National Insurance number 
  • Universal Credit managed payments to landlords
  • Universal Credit improvements to appointment information
  • Pensions campaign encourages people to get to know their pension
  • Funeral Support Payment in Scotland 
  • Warm Home Discount Scheme
  • Apprenticeships campaign

To view the newsletter follow the link below.


DWP Touchbase: Edition 136
August 13, 2019

Touchbase is brought to you by the Department for Work & Pensions

Recent changes to the DWP ministerial team have meant that some areas of work have moved. Find out where responsibilities now lie

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:   

  • changes to Universal Credit 
  • how to contact a Universal Credit claimant’s case manager
  • the EU Settlement Scheme
  • support for survivors of domestic abuse
  • Working Chance
  • a consultation to reduce health-related job loss
  • volunteering whilst claiming benefits
  • joining Disability Confident
  • Post Office card accounts

To View Touchbase OnlineFollow The Link Below:


DWP Touchbase: Edition 135
July 9, 2019

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:

•  changes to Universal Credit
•  a Get Your State Pension video
•  supporting parents in conflict
•  Support for Mortgage Interest videos 
•  Childcare choices – 30 hours awareness campaign 

View on line using the link below


DWP Touchbase: Edition 134
May 29, 2019

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:  

  • Jobcentre Plus arrangements for the Spring bank holiday
  • recent changes to Universal Credit
  • practical tips to manage risk for defined benefit pension scheme trustees
  • the Work and Health Programme
  • Childcare Choices
  • a public meeting for the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council
  • the Workplace pension campaign partnership with Gogglebox
  • the Find a job service being shortlisted for prestigious industry awards

View Touchbase Here

DWP Touchbase Newsletter Edition 133
April 12, 2019

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:

•  Jobcentre Plus arrangements over the Easter period
•  further changes to Universal Credit
•  calling Universal Credit phone lines
•  the Department for Work and Pensions email addresses
•  the mid-life MOT website
•  the workplace pensions campaign
•  the Regional Stakeholder Network
•  mentoring circles in jobcentres

View Newsletter Here

DWP Touchbase: Edition 132
February 5, 2019

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:

  • changes to Universal Credit
  • how to contact a claimant’s Universal Credit case manager
  • a new employment-focussed campaign
  • the Help to Save scheme
  • the Workplace Pension campaign

DWP Touchbase: Edition 132

Touchbase: November Budget Edition
November 9, 2018

In the Budget on 29th October, the Chancellor announced a package of measures worth £4.5 billion to support the safe and secure roll out of Universal Credit.

Key Budget announcements:

  • The Universal Credit Work Allowance will be increased by £1,000 from April 2019. This means that 2.4m households will keep an extra £630 of income each year.
  • Jobseekers’ Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support will roll on for the first fortnight of a Universal Credit claim, where otherwise they would have stopped. This will be effective from July 2020, and benefit around 1.1 million claimants.
  • Government is extending the 12-month grace period (the period before the Minimum Income Floor applies) to support all gainfully self-employed people. This will be introduced from July 2019 and implemented fully from September 2020.
  • Claimants can repay overpayments and debt more slowly from October 2019 (from 40% of the standard allowance to 30%), and from October 2021 people will have longer to repay advances.
  • In addition, the Budget provides funding for the announcements made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in April and June 2018 to support the roll out of Universal Credit.

The Budget in full Read more

DWP Touchbase: Issue 129
September 28, 2018

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:

  •  the Get to Know Your Pension campaign
  •  requests for personal information from third parties
  •  the Find a job service
  •  the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service
  •  changes for carers in Scotland
  •  changes to the Universal Credit live service helpline

Touchbase Issue 129

DWP Touchbase: Issue 127
May 25, 2018

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:

  • a new job finding service
  • new Personal Independence Payment videos
  • the Tell Us Once service
  • a public consultation
  • the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise