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Jobseeker's Allowance: Students

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 21st May 2008.

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Photo of Helen Jones Helen Jones PPS (Rt Hon Dawn Primarolo, Minister of State), Department of Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the review into the rules on periods of study allowed by those on jobseekers allowance to be completed and published.

Photo of James Plaskitt James Plaskitt Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

We worked with City Strategy Pathfinders during 2007 to look at what further enabling measures could be put in place to help people into work; this included looking at whether any further changes needed to be made to enable benefit claimants to be able to study or train full-time. This work concluded that a wide range of flexibilities already existed to enable full-time study, for example for those on long-term incapacity benefit and people in vulnerable groups claiming income support.

In our joint report with DIUS, "Opportunity, Employment and Progression", published on 26 November 2007, we indicated that we were removing the 16 hour rule in housing benefit for short term recipients of incapacity benefit and that we would consider whether it might be practicable to define limited exemptions from the '16 hour rule' for specific groups—such as young people living in supported accommodation. We will report on progress on both of these in due course. We are also taking forward a proposal to allow more people on jobseeker's allowance to be able to access full-time, employment focused training for up to eight weeks by moving them onto a training allowance. We are planning to test a similar flexibility in a City Strategy Pathfinder area later this year and, learning the lessons from this, roll out nationally during the 2009-10 academic year. We are also looking at further ways of increasing access to full-time training for jobseeker's allowance claimants where this would help support their move into employment.

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Karen Bedford
Posted on 22 May 2008 11:30 am (Report this annotation)

On another point with studying whilst on job seekers - having to wait 6 months before allowing to train is ridiculous! and when you find courses no one will support/fund these, I was made redundant and as of Sept my son will be training to be an apprentice, therefore earns under the minimum wage and I will not be classed as single parent and lose any benefits I was getting (topped up due to poor/low wages) therefore I will not be better off working unless I can get a job that covers the absence of the top up benefits. I have found courses but as they are classed as specialist courses I cannot get help with funding for them and subsequently have to pay myself by way of a loan which will put me in debt whilst not working! It seems that the government feel the only people out of work are people who can afford to take poorly paid jobs with top ups of benefits but with the situation at present, this is not the case. Maybe this should be looked into as it seems to have been forgotton about - a loophole maybe!?