The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Homeless Claimants) Amendment Regulations in brief:
Work Coaches can decide whether a claimant becoming homeless constitutes a ‘domestic emergency’. If it does, there is no prescribed time limit for which they can apply the easement, but it will only apply as long as the claimant’s circumstances constitute a domestic emergency.
‘Domestic emergency’ is determined on a case-by-case basis but these regulations only apply to individuals who have recently become homelessness.
The easement is conditional upon the claimant taking reasonable steps to find accommodation, and removes the requirement for the claimant to be:
available for work;
actively seeking work;
subject to a Jobseeker’s Direction; or
participating in the Work Programme.
The easement is not expected to last for more than four weeks as it would be unusual for a domestic emergency to last longer than this period, though Work Coaches can extend the duration if considered appropriate.
The claimant must prove they are taking reasonable action to find accommodation. These actions will be agreed between the claimant and Work Coach and recorded on the JSA Claimant Commitment.
The homelessness industry is today welcoming an upcoming change in the law which could see homeless people forced to live in unsuitable or unsafe accommodation or face losing eligibility for benefits.
Homeless Link and St Mungo’s Broadway have published a gushing press release cheering amendments to the rules for Jobseeker’s Allowance set to come into force next month. The changes mean that newly homeless people may only be considered meeting the criteria for benefits if they take “such steps as are reasonable for him (sic) to take to find living accommodation.”
Homeless people will have an easement of jobseeking requirements if they follow these conditions, but this will usually only last four weeks, despite the average length of hostel stays being significantly longer than that. The minimum length of stay in one of St Mungo’s Central London hostels is eight weeks, with most residents staying an average of six…
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