There are lots of government departments out there, all with different roles and responsibility. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for welfare which includes all the benefits and assistance payments that we can receive as UK residents. This makes it a very large department with lots of sub-departments handling different areas. Here’s a look at the kind of things they can assist with.
Who are the DWP?
The DWP is responsible for ‘understand and dealing with the causes of poverty rather than its symptoms’. This means they are there to encourage people to work and make sure that working pays as well as helping disabled people and those with ill health to work and be independent where suitable. They also help to ensure a decent income for people of retirement age and to help younger people prepare for later years.
In addition, the DWP is also available to help the benefits system offer value for money and to reduce the rates of fraudulent claims and those made in error. It also helps reduce work-related injuries and deaths through the Health and Safety Executive.
They are in charge of the Jobcentre Plus, the Pensions Service, Child Maintenance Service and a number of other organisations.
Help with carers and the disabled
There are a large number of benefits that are available to UK residents, but the system is also gradually changing to try and make it simpler and more transparent. The DWP is responsible for major benefits for carers and those with disabilities including:
- Carer’s allowance
- Attendance allowance
- Disability living allowance (DLA)
- Personal independence payment (PIP)
Pensions and child maintenance
Two other major areas handled by the DWP concerns pensions and child maintenance policy. The Pension Service helps with pensions, benefits and retirement information. For people who have reached pension age but also for those approaching it or even a long way off who want to prepare for their retirement years.
It covers a number of benefits and payments such as the state pension that you receive. Once you have passed the state retirement age (this is currently moving each year). It also helps with pension credit, which tops up the state pension if you are on a low income. Other regular payments such as the winter fuel payment and cold weather payments. These are also handled by the department and are provided annually or depending on weather conditions.
The Child Support Agency and Child Maintenance Services both come under the DWP. Child maintenance is financial assistance that helps parents with the living cost of their children when parents are separated. When a partnership breaks up and both parties can’t agree on financial matters, the agencies help to see how much maintenance the paying parent should pay to the receiving parent and often handles the collection and redistribution of that money.
Jobcentres, now known as Jobcentre Plus, is a familiar sight around the country with there being one in most towns and cities. These are places where you can find work and also get help with the process as well as comply with various requirements around benefits you receive when you are out of work.
These benefits can include Employment Support Allowance or ESA and also Jobseeker’s Allowance or JSA. You can apply for or query either of these benefits at the Jobcentre or online as well as ringing the different department phone numbers to get help straight from someone.
DWP also handle other benefits and services that help you when you are working or out of work. Tax credits are an example of this. There are two types – child tax credits and working tax credits. You can be eligible for one or both depending on your situation as they are means-tested. You can apply for this online or contact the DWP for more information on whether you can claim or not.
Universal credit is another benefit that is available for people on low incomes. Or who are out of work and is replacing a series of benefits that are currently being offered including child tax credit, housing benefit, income support and working tax credit. You can contact DWP if you are receiving any of these and find out more about the switch to universal credit.