DWP pushed on support for older workers ineligible for state pensions & Universal Credit

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Pension aged workers are struggling to keep up with coronavirus as recent employment data from the ONS showed there are now 130,000 fewer 65+ workers than pre-covid levels. This may be worrying for those who have yet to reach state pension age and are unable to claim certain means-tested benefits.

On this, the DWP was recently pushed on what support they can provide to those stuck in these predicaments.

In late March, Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, asked the DWP: “What steps [the] Department is taking to support people aged 60 and over who have been made redundant and who are ineligible to claim universal credit and have not yet reached the state pension age.”

Yesterday, Mims Davies, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the DWP, responded to this query:”The Department recognises that work is the best route to prosperity.

“Claimants who are not eligible for Universal Credit may be eligible for contributory benefits, which are not means tested.

“Claimants in receipt of contributory benefits can access our wider Jobcentre offer, including tailored support from a dedicated Work Coach.

“Furthermore, the Rapid Response Service (RRS) supports eligible people regardless of age who are serving their notice period, whether from compulsory redundancy or other workforce measures such as an early release scheme.

“The RRS offer is flexible and includes a range of options that can be pulled together into an appropriate support package. Those who do not find alternative employment before losing their job can access the same support as those under notice of redundancy for a period of 13 weeks, irrespective of whether they make a claim for benefit or not.

“Mid-life MOTs, which offer support from the National Careers Service, Public Health England and Money and Pensions Service are freely available to anyone considering a change in career.

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“People who are not in receipt of any benefits can still access support on-line.

“Find a Job is the Government’s official job matching service for those looking for work, employers looking to recruit and recruitment agencies who recruit on their behalf.

“In addition, the DWP launched the JobHelp website, which provides useful guidance and tools for jobseekers including hints and tips, job search advice, information about recruiting sectors and signposts to job vacancies to help people successfully find work.”

These resources will likely be needed by many over the coming months as research from Just Group detailed the eldery, particularly older women, are facing difficult realties.

This week, the ONS released the latest employment data for the UK and Stepehen Lowe, Just Group’s communications director, broke down the figures: “[The] figures notes that falls in employment among workers aged 65+ and those aged 16-24 have been mainly responsible for the overall fall in employment both over the last year and the last quarter.

yeah “The employment rate for older workers was a record 1.1 percentage points lower over the year at 10.4 percent. Until a year ago the number of those aged 65+ and employed had been on a long-term upward trend but that came to a halt with the pandemic with working women seemingly affected most.

“There are now 130,000 fewer age 65+ workers than in the first quarter of last year and 95,000 of them – more than two in three – are women. “

“There have also been more women aged 65+ moving into retirement 181,000 compared to 126,000 men in the same period.

“It’s important the employment market is working for older workers who are now expected to work for longer but who may find that challenging, especially women.

“It would be an economic tragedy if people who want to work are being forced to retire earlier than they want or to dip into pension money hoping to replace it later.

“The benefits system should tide working-age people over periods of financial stress so we would urge anyone thinking of accessing a pension to take financial advice or guidance.

“The free, independent and impartial Pension Wise service is available to those aged 50+ with a defined contribution pension. It is highly rated by those who use it and it helps people fully understand their options and not fall pay to scammers.”

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