*The Permitted Work Guide has been updated to due to increases in the permitted work limits and is correct from October 2010*
Finding a job at the moment is hard enough and if you’re disabled or have a mental health problem it’s even more difficult. Making the leap from relying on benefits to getting a full time job is often simply unrealistic. But part-time work can help to build up skills, confidence and a work record to show to future employers. It also raises the self esteem that comes with earning a wage. However many disabled people who want work are trapped in an incredibly complex web of benefit rules and aren’t aware of what it’s possible to do.
That’s why Social Firms UK has produced a free, interactive tool to guide people on disability-related benefits through the maze. It’s easy to use - just answer yes or no to a series of questions and it helps to work out how much someone can earn before their benefits are affected. Jobcentre Plus calls this ‘Permitted Work’.
Social Firms UK designed the guide with the help of Judy Scott Consultancy after a change in the Housing Benefit rules from the 1st April this year meant that many people on disability-related benefits can now earn and keep up to £93 a week and not have their benefits cut. The guide can be used online or downloaded.
The guide is also an invaluable tool for managers, support workers and employment advisers when assisting people on relevant benefits. The ‘Permitted Work’ Guide is freely available from the Social Firms UK website in the Resource Library, which you can access by clicking here.
Social Firms UK Social Firms UK is the national support agency for the Social Firm sector. We carry out lobbying and awareness-raising activities, research and practical initiatives to increase the number and ensure the quality of Social Firms in the UK. We have approximately 300 members. Our vision is that everyone has the opportunity to be employed. Click her for more information about joining us and a full list of our resources, please visit: www.socialfirmsuk.co.uk
Judy Scott Consultancy An independent consultancy in the incapacity based benefit system and interaction with employment law. Pertinent for organisations that support people who are moving from incapacity benefits into work and public agencies that involve service users and carers in health and social care services, research and training. To contact, email email@example.com
Permitted Work Permitted Work allows a person on incapacity-related benefits to take up paid work for less than 16 hours either as an employee or in self employment, without having to get their doctor's approval. There are limits to the length of time someone can undertake Permitted Work, and the amount of money they can earn each week which depend on the particular type of benefit a person receives. People must tell the DWP or Jobcentre Plus (preferably in writing) about doing the permitted work. When they start permitted work, a voluntary appointment is set up with a personal adviser who can give help and support; e.g. travel to work costs.
Disability-related benefits These are benefits paid to people whose ability to work is restricted because of illness or disability. They include Employment Support Allowance (Work Related), Employment Support Allowance (Support Group), Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Income Support for Incapacity.
Housing Benefit Housing and Council Tax Benefit administration is carried out by the local Council on behalf of the Government and is a statutory service. Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit provide financial assistance for those people receiving low income and/or benefits as payment towards their rent and Council Tax.
Social Firm A Social Firm is a social enterprise that has been set up specifically to create employment for people who are furthest away from the labour market. Social Firms share three core values: Enterprise, Employment and Empowerment. Social Firms employ at least 25% of their workforce from those who face major disadvantage in the labour market (e.g. because of a physical or learning disability, mental health problem, prison record or substance misuse). They generate at least 50% of income through trade and their profits are re-invested to grow the business and create more jobs. Social Firms can be found in all business sectors, from manufacturing to market research, from packaging and fulfilment to printing and from cafes to conference centres. For more detail see www.justbuy.org.uk.