Social Security Benefits

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 8th December 2014.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in what circumstances benefit claimants are permitted to undertake paid work which is regarded as therapeutic.

Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

A person who is entitled to Employment and Support Allowance and who does any work will normally be treated as not having limited capability for work and will lose their entitlement accordingly. However, under existing provisions, there are types of work that a claimant can do without losing their benefit entitlement.

This is called ‘exempt work’ (more commonly referred to as ‘permitted work’).

The categories of exempt work are Permitted Work; Voluntary Work and work done in a Work Placement. There are four types of permitted work.

· Permitted Work Lower Level: work for no more than £20 a week at any time for as long as the person is on benefit;

· Permitted Work Higher Level: work for less than 16 hours a week with earnings of no more than £104.00 a week for a fixed period of 52 weeks with the aim of progressing to work of more than 16 hours per week;

· Permitted Work Higher Level Subsequent: at the end of the 52 week period of PWHL, if they have not progressed to work of more than 16 hours, claimants can continue to work for no more than £20 per week. After a gap of 52 weeks customers can undertake a subsequent period of 52 weeks at the higher level;

· Supported Permitted Work: claimants can work for no more than £104.00 a week for as long as they are on benefit if they have a disability which is unlikely to improve over time and they need regular and on going support or supervision in the work place in order to make as much progress as they can towards full-time work. A person is able to work and earn up to and including £104.00 a week indefinitely where their work is supervised by someone who is employed by a public or local authority, or a voluntary organisation whose job it is to arrange work for people with disabilities.

A person can only do one type of Permitted Work at any one time and there are rules which cover the length of time that claimants may undertake each category, and the amount they can earn.

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