COVID Service Update
The impact of the pandemic means the JobCentre has seen very high numbers of claims queries. Extra staff have been recruited and different ways of working are in place to help meet the new demand.
Since March 2020, and until further notice, people receiving benefits will not have to attend their Jobcentre appointments.
- All appointments for new claimants will be done by phone. This means; Initial Evidence Interviews, Claimant Commitments, Verifying Evidence Interview and Habitual Residence Tests will all by telephone intervention.
- Face-to-face conditionality meetings for Universal Credit customers will be replaced by phone interviews. These will maintain regular contact between customers and their work coach so work with those needing support does not lose momentum. Changes to claimant commitments can be agreed by phone and accepted by the customer on their on-line account.
- Work coaches who need to contact customers should do so through the online journal or by phone.
- Customers who need to contact us should do so by phone or online.
- Jobcentre is closed to most people but vulnerable cases and other related transactions can be seen where these can’t be completed in other ways and to ensure timely payments are received.
- For customers making a new claim, not having a Fit Note should not stop them from applying, completing the process and getting benefit paid during the COVID pandemic.
The phone based claim process (as an alternative to online) remains the same if you have a disability and your need for this option would be ongoing. There is a very limited telephone call back service for these clients.
PIP (Personal Independence Payments) can be made as usual or apply online for a form. There are currently no face to face assessor appointments and claims will be temporarily processed without these. This government online advice explains more about how to claim PIP.
Who are we?
Jobcentre Plus is the part of the Department for Work and Pensions and delivers support services that help people claim working age benefits. People between the ages of 18 – 65 are considered to be of working age..
Jobcentre Plus helps with:
- finding work
- staying in work when there are difficulties related to health or disability
- finding out about availability of benefits including Universal Credit (UC)
Young people aged under 18 can check on the government website to see if they are eligible.
How can we help you?
The way that Jobcentre Plus works has changed. They offer help and support to people looking for work. They may offer a placement on a range of different schemes that help people develop helpful employment skills and get experience through; work experience, work trials or schemes that guarantee job interviews.
Jobcentre also work closely with organisations in the local community who offer work opportunities and volunteering schemes.
If you are not sure if you can claim benefits or which ones may be available staff at the Jobcentre Plus can support you with information about:
- jobs from employers,
- support for unemployed people looking for work,
- support for part time employees looking to get more work,
- support for students and school leavers wanting to find work
- support for people with special needs or disabilities who may need more help with finding and keeping paid work
- “Help to claim” additional support for those finding it difficult to make their claim online
Jobcentre Plus can offer support to help you better manage you money including; alternative payment patterns, paying rent directly to your landlord.
Universal Credit is normally paid every four weeks in certain circumstances it may be possible to make the payments more frequent for example fortnightly, this would need to be agreed with you work coach.
Once your claim is registered and you are identified as eligible you can claim for an advance payment of your Universal Credit. This payment needs to be paid back once you start receiving UC.
To start a Universal Credit claim you will be required to register your claim online, once the online registration is complete you will be prompted to book a “first appointment” with a Work Coach at the Jobcentre. At you first appointment would be required to bring identity documents, proof of address and bank details, when you check your claim online it will tell you what documents you will be required to bring. Your work coach will also talk with you to find out about; past work experience, reasons for being unemployed, any training needs and your current financial situation.
After the “first appointment” you Work Coach will work with you to agree a “claimant commitment” which will include the steps you may need to take to prepare yourself for working and to look for a job.
They will keep you informed about your claim to benefits and if appropriate will refer you for help and support to write a CV (which is a written record of your experience and employment to date) and give you information about training and local support.
If you are aged 18 – 21 you may be asked to attend group sessions at the Jobcentre where you will get extra help and support to look for work, this is called the Youth Obligation.
Kickstart scheme - NEW work placements for young people
There are 26 new placements as part of the Kickstart scheme. These are roles the Council has developed with Hackney employers across a range of sectors including radio production, youth drama and many more!
The scheme is open to 16-24 year olds who receive Universal Credit.
More placements will be available throughout the year so please register your interest to keep up to date. If you are already claiming Universal Credit, ask your Job Centre Plus work coach about placements available through the Hackney Council gateway.
New Enterprise Allowance: start your own business
Jobcentre Plus also offers the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme. This is for people with a good idea for a business who want to become self-employed. Advisors will explore the business idea with you to see if it could become possible self-employment. If it could they will support and advise you on completing your business plan.
Work and Health Programme
The Work and Health Programme offers support and help to people with a health condition or disability. Contact the service to find out more. If identified and suitable for this scheme you will be offered tailored support to help you find and keep work.
Specialist Employment Support (SES)
Specialist Employment Support or SES is a 12-15 month programme for people with a disability or health condition who are further from the labour market.
Your Work Coach will support you by coaching you as to the best step to take in looking for work . You will be expected to attend regular meetings with you Work Coach and must let them know what you are doing to look for work. “Access to work” may be available to help support you into work. Access to work funding is to help people who may require work place adjustments or more support moving into and keeping a job
Your Work Coach can give you advice and support applying for this.
You can contact your Work Coach online if you cannot attend an appointment and they may send you messages digitally as well. If you feel this does not support your needs contact the service to discuss the best way to communicate with you.
Disability Employment Advisors (DEAs) - the enhanced support offer
DEA’s offer a range of support within the Jobcentre. They work with Work Coaches to find solutions and remove barriers to securing employment as well as working with external support organisations and signposting where appropriate.
Contact Hackney's Disability Employment Advisors :
Hackney Mare Street Jobcentre
Phone: 020 8218 8222, 07833961211, 07867141251
Disability Employment Advisor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disability Employment Advisor: email@example.com
Phone: 020 7749 7031, 07825315851
Disability Employment Advisor: Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org
Disability Employment Advisor: Aziz.email@example.com
Quieter and Calmer sessions
Hackney Mare Street’s Jobcentre Plus has begun to offer some sessions from a range of services in a smaller quieter environment and with additional support from staff and partner organisations. These are intended to help meet the needs of job seekers with additional needs e.g. autistic adults or those experiencing anxiety or mental health difficulties.
Contact the center to find out more: 0845 604 3719
MENCAP have made some easy read guides for people with additional needs and or disability. MENCAP's website offers advice and support on benefits for people with learning disability
Record Last Updated on: 22/04/2021