We did a freedom of information request to clarify the regularity and terms of work focused interviews for carers on income support. We hope you find this useful.
Our reference: VTR 562
Date: 5 April 2016
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 14 February 2016. We acknowledge that in this instance, the Department failed to respond within the 20 working days and apologise for the delay. DWP is working to
avoid this occurring in the future.
In your request you asked:
1. How often do income support claimants also on carers allowance (caring for either a child over 5 years old or for an adult) have to attend work focused interviews (WFI) ?
Income Support Claimants also on Carer’s Allowance with a child aged 5 or over are required to attend an initial WFI at the point the claim to Income Support is made in order for the claim to be processed and then attend review WFIs every 3 years.
2. Are WFIs compulsory for the above?
The WFIs are compulsory for the above. The claim to Income Support s not processed if they do not attend the initial WFI when the claim to
Income Support is made. The requirements to attend WFIs are in The
Social Security (Jobcentre Plus Interviews) Regulations 2002 Parts 3 and
3. How often does a parent on income support and carers allowance with
a child under age 5 have to attend WFI?
Income Support Lone Parent Claimants with a youngest child aged 1 – 5
and also on Carer’s Allowance have to attend WFIs 6 months after the
claim to Income Support was made and then every 6 months until the
youngest child reaches 5.
4. Are WFI compulsory for the above?
The above WFIs are mandatory. The requirements to attend WFIs are in
The Social Security (Jobcentre Plus Interviews) Regulations 2002 Reg
5. How often does a parent claiming income support with a child under 5
years old have to attend WFI?
A claimant in receipt of Income Support solely on the grounds of being a
lone parent with a youngest child aged 1 to 4 must attend a WFI one
month after the claim to Income Support is made. Subsequent WFIs are
flexible and the frequency is at the discretion of the Work Coach, who will
tailor the frequency depending on the circumstances of the lone parent.
The recommended minimum WFIs per year are:
Youngest child aged 1 to 3 – a minimum of 2 per year
Youngest child aged 4 – a minimum of 4 per year.
Lone parents with a youngest child under 1 are not required to attend
mandatory WFIs until the child is 1.
6. Under what circumstances (for a carer on income support) can a phone
interview be accepted in lieu of a face to face WFI?
Mandatory WFIs must be undertaken face to face. See attached extract
from guidance. Voluntary interviews can be conducted over the
7. What procedure should be followed if a carer has been asked to attend
a WFI but it means bringing the disabled person they care for in with
them, which could cause distress or harm to the cared for person?
Consideration of the claimant’s personal circumstances are taken into
when booking the WFI . See attached guidance. The claimant can apply
for replacement care costs for attending a WFI if required. See attached
extracts from guidance.
8. What procedure should be followed if an individual job centre expects
more regular appointments than your answers?
In addition to the mandatory interviews, Jobcentres can ask IS claimants to
come in for further interviews on a voluntary basis if it is appropriate in their
Claimants are free to decline to attend these additional voluntary interviews.
The Government wants to empower carers and lone parents to fulfil their work
potential, to protect their own and their family’s current and future financial
position and to enjoy the health benefits and self-esteem that paid
employment or self-employment can bring.
We want to help carers and lone parents overcome the challenges they face
in taking steps back into work, either now or in the future, and the starting
point for this is making people aware of the full range of support available
through a Work Focused Interview with an adviser.
The purpose of these interviews for people who receive Income Support and
Carer’s Allowance is to provide information about the support available
through Jobcentre Plus. For those who are interested in combining their
caring responsibilities with work or in preparing for a time when their caring
responsibilities may end, the WFI provides an opportunity to identify and
agree exactly what support Jobcentre Plus can provide
The support available includes:
regular voluntary meetings with a work coach to plan the appropriate steps
to take to find or prepare for work
work preparation, including help with CV writing or interview skills
access to Jobcentre Plus approved training courses or Work Trials
help with expenses such as travel and replacement care costs when taking
part in work preparation activities
help to calculate whether carers and lone parents would be better off in
work when considering a job, and
advice on in-work benefits and adviser support during the early weeks in
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the
reference number above.
DWP Central FoI Team