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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999


The power itself

New claims to benefit will be made through the ONE service. As part of the claim process, claimants will be required to take part in an interview with their personal adviser to discuss the barriers they face in moving closer to the labour market, and the help and support that is available to overcome those barriers.

Where it is considered inappropriate for someone to discuss work-related issues at that time, given the particular circumstances that they face (for example, the point of claim would not be an appropriate time to discuss work-related issues with a grieving widow), the interview could be deferred until a later date, using the power in subsection (6)(c).

Subsection (1)(a) provides regulation-making powers to require claimants of the benefits listed in subsection (2) to take part in a work-focused interview as part of the process of claiming those benefits. The requirement cannot apply to claimants aged 60 and over.

Subsection (1)(b) provides for regulations to be made that will enable interviews to take place where one or more of the benefits listed in subsection (2) is already in payment.

In some cases, claimants will be required to take part in interviews after benefit has been put into payment. This would happen on the occurrence of a specified event (a “trigger point”) which could potentially affect someone’s employability. These trigger points will be set out in regulations. They are likely to include: when the youngest child of a lone parent or widow reaches school age, or when the results from a Personal Capacity Assessment (see commentary on section 61) become available. Also, interviews may be triggered where claimants have not had a work-focused interview for a specified period of time.

The subsection allows for the trigger points to be specified. Claimants who do not take part in these interviews when required to do so will have the amount of benefit in payment reduced (see subsections (4) and (5)).

Subsection (2) lists the benefits to which the requirements in subsection (1) will apply.

In particular, subsection (2)(d) ensures that this provision will apply to the new benefits for widows and widowers introduced by section 55 of this Act. However, the Bereavement Payment (the new lump sum payment that replaces the Widow’s Payment) is excluded from the provisions of this section. Although JSA claimants will enter the ONE service, the benefit is not included in this subsection: powers already exist in the Jobseekers Act 1995 enabling regulations to require claimants to attend at specified offices. Such claimants are therefore already required to fulfil the requirements of a work-focused regime.

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Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


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