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DMG Memo Vol 1/93 & 9/19 WORK-FOCUSED INTERVIEWS: LONE PARENTS AND PARTNERS Contents Paragraphs Introduction 1 - 3 Definitions Meaning of relevant interview 4 Meaning of relevant benefit 5 Treated as responsible for a child aged under 1 6 Meaning of lone parent (Employm..

    DMG Memo Vol 1/93 & 9/19

     WORK-FOCUSED INTERVIEWS: LONE PARENTS AND

    PARTNERS

     Contents Paragraphs

     Introduction 1 - 3

     Definitions

     Meaning of relevant interview 4

     Meaning of relevant benefit 5

     Treated as responsible for a

     child aged under 1 6

     Meaning of lone parent

     (Employment and Support Allowance) 7

     Lone parents claiming Income Support 8

     Claimants entitled to Income Support,

     Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance

     Lone parents with child aged under 7 9 - 11

     Lone parents with child aged 7 or over

     and other claimants 12 - 15

     Timing of interview 16

     Lone parents with child aged under 7

     - initial interview 17

     Lone parents with child aged under 7

     - subsequent interview 18

     Lone parents with child aged 7 or over

     and other claimants 19 - 20

     Lone parents and partners - child aged under one

     Lone parents 21

     Partners 22

     Cessation of reduction

     Existing reductions 23 - 24

     New reductions 25 - 26

     Annotations

     Contacts

     INTRODUCTION

    1. This memo gives guidance on the SS (Work-focused Interviews for Lone

    Parents and Partners) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 12011. The regulations came into force on 31.10.11. They amend 2specified legislation relating to lone parents and partners who are

    required to take part in a work-focused interview. See DMG Chapter 05

    for full guidance.

    1 SR 2011 No. 368; 2 SS (WfI for lone parents) Regs (NI) 2001; SS (WFI Interviews) Regs (NI) 03;

    ESA Regs (NI) 2008; SS (WfI Interviews for partners) Regs (NI) 03, SS IBWFI) Regs (NI) 08

2. The regulations

     1. remove the requirement for lone parents with a child aged under 7

    who make a claim for Income Support to take part in an initial work-1focused interview before an award of Income Support is made

     2. remove the requirement to take part in a work-focused interview for

    lone parents who

     2.1 are entitled to Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Severe

    Disablement Allowance or Employment and Support

    Allowance and

     2 2.2 have a child under the age of one

     3. remove the requirement to take part in a work-focused interview for

    partners of claimants entitled to

     3.1 Income Support

     3.2 Incapacity Benefit

     3.3 Severe Disablement Allowance

     3.4 income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance other than joint

    claims

     3.5 income-related Employment and Support Allowance

     3 where the couple has a child under the age of one

     4. amend the existing work-focused interview requirements for lone 4parents

     5. amend the time when an interview takes place under specified 5legislation.

    1 SS (WfI for LP & P)(Amdt) Regs (NI) 2011, reg 2(3) & 3(3); 2 reg 2(7), 3(9), 5(3) & 6(3);

    3 reg 4(3); 4 reg 2(3) & (5) and reg 3(4) & (5); 5 reg 3)7)

3. The regulations also remove the definition of “lone parent” for the 1purposes of Employment and Support Allowance. This change is

    because a definition of lone parent has been added to specified 2Employment and Support Allowance legislation. See paragraph 7

    below.

    1 SS (WfI for LP & P)(Amdt) Regs (NI) 2011, reg 5(2)(a) & 7; ESA Regs (NI), reg 2(1); ESA(WRA)

    Regs (NI), reg 2(1);

    2 WR Act (NI) 07, sec 24(3A)

     DEFINITIONS

     Meaning of relevant interview

    4. A relevant interview means an interview in relation to

     1 1. a lone parent’s current award of Income Support or

     2. a claimant’s current award of a specified benefit (see DMG 5316 for 2the meaning of specified benefit).

     In this memo, a relevant interview is referred to as a work-focused

    interview.

    1 SS (WfI for lone parents) Regs (NI) 2001, reg 1 (2); 2 SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 2003, reg 1(3)

     Meaning of relevant benefit

     15. Relevant benefit means Income Support other than Income Support

    where the claimant is

     1. incapable or treated as incapable of work or entitled to Statutory 2Sick Pay or

     2. pursuing an appeal against a decision embodying a determination 3that they are not incapable of work.

    1 SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 2003, reg 1(3); 2 IS (Gen) Regs (NI) 1987, Sch 1B para 7; 3 paras 24 & 25

    Treated as responsible for a child aged under one

    6. A lone parent, claimant or partner is treated as responsible for, and a

    member of the same household as, a child aged under one in 1accordance with Income Support legislation - see DMG 22031 et seq.

    1 IS (Gen) Regs (NI) 1987, reg 15 & 16; SS (WfI for lone parents) Regs (NI) 2001, reg 1(4); SS (WfI)

    Regs (NI) 2003, reg 1(4A); ESA Regs (NI), reg 2(7); SS (IBWFI) Regs (NI) 08, reg 2(6)

     Meaning of lone parent (Employment and Support Allowance)

7. From 31.10.11, for the purposes of Employment and Support Allowance 1a lone parent is a person who is

     2 1. not a member of a couple and

     2. responsible for and a member of the same household as a person

    under the age of 16.

    1 WR Act (NI) 07, sec 24(3A); 2 SS C&B (NI) Act 02, sec 133(1)

     LONE PARENTS CLAIMING INCOME SUPPORT

8. From 31.10.11 a lone parent who

    1. makes a claim for Income Support and

     2. is responsible for and a member of the same household as a child

    aged under 7

     is no longer required to take part in an initial work-focused interview 1before the claim is determined. The guidance at DMG 5015, 5030 and

    5316 no longer applies.

    1 SS (WfI for lone parents) Regs (NI) 2001, reg 2(2); SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03, reg 2(1)(d)

     CLAIMANTS ENTITLED TO INCOME SUPPORT, INCAPACITY

    BENEFIT OR SEVERE DISABLEMENT ALLOWANCE

     Lone parents with child aged under 7

9. Where a lone parent

     1. is entitled to Income Support and

    2. is in the lone parent prescribed category of person (see DMG

    20082 et seq), that is, their only or youngest child is aged under 7

    and

    3. has not reached pensionable age

    4. has not taken part or been required to take part in a work-focused

    interview

     1 they are required to take part in a WfI.

     Note: see paragraph 20 where the child is aged under one.

    1 SS (WfI for lone parents) Regs (NI) 2001, reg 2(1) & (2) & 4(1)(a); SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03, reg 3ZA(1)

    & (2); IS (Gen) Regs (NI), Sch 1B para 1

10. For the purposes of paragraph 9 4., where an officer waives the

    requirement to take part in a work-focused interview under specified

    legislation (see DMG 5021), the lone parent is regarded as not having 1taken part or been required to take part in a work-focused interview.

    1 SS (WfI for lone parents) Regs (NI) 2001, reg 2(5)

11. Where the lone parent has

    1. taken part or

    2. failed to take part or

    3. been treated as having taken part

     in a work-focused interview, the requirement to take part in a work-

    focused interview arises every six months after the date they last took

    part, failed to take part or were treated as taking part in a work-focused 1interview. But see DMG 5211 and 5324 where the lone parent is aged

    under 18.

     Note: See DMG Memo Vol 1/94, 2/28, 3/84, 4/107, 5/87, 6/70, 7/38,

    8/37, 9/20, 13/48 & 14/47 for guidance on changes to final year quarterly

    work-focused interviews for certain lone parents.

    1 SS (WfI for lone parents) Regs (NI) 2001, reg 2(3) & (4); SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03, reg 3ZA(3) & (4)

     Lone parents with child aged 7 or over and other claimants

     Lone parent work-focused interview Scheme

12. Where the claimant

     1. is a lone parent other than as in paragraph 9 2. and

     2. has not reached pensionable age and

     3. is aged 18 or over and

    4. is entitled to Income Support and

     5. has not taken part or been required to take part in a work-focused

    interview

     1 they are required to take part in a work-focused interview. See

    paragraph 14 where the requirement is waived or deferred.

    1 SS (WfI for lone parents) Regs (NI) 2001, reg 2ZB(1), (2)(a) & (3)

     Jobcentre work-focused interview

13. Where the claimant

     1. is

     1.1 a lone parent other than as in paragraph 9 2. or

     1.2 is not a lone parent and

     2. has not reached pensionable age and

     3. is 18 or over and

    4. is entitled to Income Support, Incapacity Benefit or Severe

    Disablement Allowance and

    5. has not taken part or been required to take part in a work-focused 1 interview

     2 they are required to take part in a work-focused interview. See

    paragraph 14 where the requirement is waived or deferred.

    1 SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03,reg 3(1); 2 reg 4(1) & (2)

     Lone parent and Jobcentre work-focused interview

14. Where the lone parent

     1. has taken part in a work-focused interview or

     2. would have taken part in a work-focused interview but for the

    requirement being deferred or waived

     under paragraph 12 or 13, they are required to take part in a work-1focused interview as in paragraph 15 below.

    1 SS (WfI for lone parents) Regs (NI) 2001, reg 2ZB(1) & (2)(b); SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03, reg 3

15. The lone parent or claimant is required to take part in a work-focused 1 interview where

    1. entitlement to Carer’s Allowance ends but entitlement to Income

    Support, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance

    continues or

    2. the lone parent or claimant begins or finishes parttime work or

    3. education or training arranged by an officer comes to an end or

    4. the lone parent or claimant reaches age 18 and has not previously

    taken part in a work-focused interview or

    5. the lone parent or claimant has not been required to take part in a

    work-focused interview for at least 36 months.

     Note 1: See DMG 5211 and 5324 where the lone parent is aged under

    18.

     Note 2: See DMG 5316 for guidance on the requirement to take part in

    an initial work-focused interview for Income Support claimants.

    1 SS (WfI for lone parents) Regs (NI) 2001, reg 2ZB(4) -(6); SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03, reg 3(4) - (5)

     TIMING OF INTERVIEW

    16. DMG 5346 5349 gives guidance on when an initial or subsequent

    work-focused interview takes place for a person required to take part in a 1work-focused interview under specified legislation (see DMG 5316).

    From 31.10.11 the guidance is replaced as follows.

    1 SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03, reg 4

     Lone parents with child aged under 7 - initial interview

    17. Where the claimant is entitled to Income Support and is a lone parent 1with a child aged under 7, the initial work-focused interview takes place

    as soon as reasonably practical after

     1. the requirement to take part in a work-focused interview arises 2because the only or youngest child reaches age one or

     2. the end of 13 weeks beginning from when the requirement to take

    part in a work-focused interview arose under paragraph 9 and the 3only or youngest child is aged four to six years of age or

     3. the end of 6 months beginning from when the requirement to take

    part in a work-focused interview arose under paragraph 9 and the 4only or youngest child is aged one to three years of age or

     4. where a work-focused interview has been deferred as in DMG 5337,

    the time when the officer determines that the requirement to take 5part in a work-focused interview should apply (see DMG 5339).

    1 SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03, reg 4(2); IS (Gen) Regs (NI) 1987, Sch 1B para 1;

    2 SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03, reg 4(2)(a);

    3 reg 3ZA(2), 3A(1) & 4(2)(b)(i); 4 reg 3ZA(2) & 4(2)(b)(ii); 5 reg 4(2)(b)(vi) & 6(1) & (2)

     Lone parents with child aged under 7 - subsequent interview

    18. Where the claimant is entitled to Income Support and is a lone parent 1with a child aged under 7, subsequent work-focused interviews take

    place as soon as reasonably practical after

     1. the requirement to attend a work-focused interview applies as in

     1.1 paragraph 11 (further work-focused interviews at 6 monthly

    intervals) or

     1.2 DMG 5600 5616 and DMG Memo Vol 1/94, 2/28, 3/84,

    4/107, 5/87, 6/70, 7/38, 8/37, 9/20, 13/48 & 14/47 (final 2year quarterly work-focused interviews) or

     2. where a work-focused interview has been deferred as in DMG 5337,

    the time when the officer determines that the requirement to take 3part in a work-focused interview should apply (see DMG 5339).

    1 SS (JPI) Regs (NI) 03, reg 4(2); IS (Gen) Regs (NI) 1987, Sch 1B para 1; SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03, reg

    4(2)(b);

    2 reg 3ZA(3), 3A(2) & 4(2)(b)(iii); 4 reg 4(2)(b)(vi) & 6(1) & (2)

     Lone parents with child aged 7 or over and other claimants

19. Where the claimant

     1. is

     1.1 a lone parent other than as in paragraph 9 2. or

     1.2 is not a lone parent

     the work-focused interview takes place as in paragraph 20 below.

    1 SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03, reg 4(1)

    20. Where paragraph 19 applies, the work-focused interview takes place as

    soon as reasonably practical after

     1. the end of 8 weeks after the date the claim for a specified benefit 1other than a relevant benefit is made or

     2 2. the claim for a relevant benefit is made or

     3. the requirement to take part in a work-focused interview as in 3paragraph 13 applies or

     4. where a work-focused interview has been deferred as in DMG 5337,

    the time when the officer determines that the requirement to take 4part in a work-focused interview should apply (see DMG 5339) or

     5. the requirement to take part in a work-focused interview arises 5because the only or youngest child reaches age one.

1 SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 2003, reg 4(1)(a); 2 reg 4(1)(b); 3 reg 3(2) & 4(1)(c); 4 reg 4(1)(d) & 6(1) & (2);

    5 reg 4(1)(e)

     LONE PARENTS AND PARTNERS - CHILD AGED UNDER ONE

     Lone parents

21. A lone parent who is

     1. responsible for and a member of the same household as a child

    aged under one and

     2. entitled to Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement

    Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance

     1 is not required to take part in a work-focused interview.

    1 SS (WfI for lone parents) Regs (NI) 2001, reg 4(1A); SS (WfI) Regs (NI) 03, reg 7(4); ESA Regs (NI),

    reg 54(2)(e);

    SS (IBWFI) Regs (NI) 08, reg 2(6)

     Partners

22. Where

     1. a partner of a claimant entitled to Income Support, Incapacity

    Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, income-based

    Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance is

    required to take part in a work-focused interview as in DMG 5515

    and

     2. the partner or claimant is responsible for and a member of the

    same household as a child aged under one

     the partner is exempt from the requirement to take part in a work- 1focused interview.

    1 SS (WfIfP) Regs (NI) 2003, reg 6(b)

    CESSATION OF REDUCTION

     Existing reductions

23. Where

     1. a lone parent or partner failed to take part in a work-focused

    interview and

     2. benefit was reduced before 31.10.11 as a consequence of the

    failure to take part and

     3. on 31.10.11 the lone parent or partner is no longer required or is

    exempt from the requirement to take part in a work-focused

    interview as in paragraphs 20 21

     1 the reduction should be lifted from 31.10.11, the date the law changed.

    This may mean part-week payments where the change in law is not the

    first day of the benefit week. See DMG 4250 for guidance on

    supersession on a change of law.

    1 SS CS (D&A) Regs (NI) 1999, reg 6(2)(a) & 7(30A)

24. Where a lone parent’s

    1. claim to Income Support was regarded as not made, as in DMG

    5037 or 5366 or

    2. entitlement to Income Support was terminated as in DMG 5040 or

    5370

     a further claim must be made in order to establish entitlement even if the

    lone parent is no longer required to take part in a work-focused interview

    from 31.10.11. This is because there can be no entitlement to benefit 1without a claim (see DMG 2015).

    1 SS A (NI) Act 92, sec 1(1)(a)

     New reductions

     Lone parents work-focused interview Scheme

    25. DMG 5083 gives guidance on when a reduction of benefit following a

    lone parent’s failure to take part in a work-focused interview under

    specified legislation ceases to have effect. Where a sanction is imposed

    on or after 31.10.11, a reduction ceases to have effect from the first day

    of the benefit week in which the lone parent is not required to take part in

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