February 2014 – Rules Relaxed for Lone Parents
The government has amended draft legislation on conditionality for lone parents with a youngest child aged one to four.
The draft changes mean that -
Advisers can use their discretion to determine the frequency, timing and duration of income support work-focused interviews for lone parents, aged 18 and over, with a youngest child aged one to four who is entitled to income support solely on the basis of being a lone parent; and
Employment support advisers would have the powers to require lone parents with a youngest child aged three or four to undertake mandatory work-related activity if they are entitled to income support solely on the basis of being a lone parent or if they are entitled to old employment and support allowance (ESAand are in the ESA work-related activity group. In addition, the government has specified‘that lone parents that claim income support cannot be sanctioned if a failure without ‘good cause’ to meet a requirement to attend either a work -focused interview or participate in work-related activity occurs within two weeks of the lone parent’s benefit being reduced as the result of a previous failure and their award of income support is currently subject to a sanction’.'
Additionally, advisers will be required to inform lone parents of their entitlement to 15 hours of free childcare and the potential availability of further help through the Flexible Support Fund