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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999


Section 70: Welfare benefits: miscellaneous amendments

This section introduces Schedule 8, which contains the minor and consequential amendments that need to be made as a result of Part V of the Act. These amendments include:

Part V: “splitting” of Jobseeker’s Allowance hardship payments

Paragraph 29 (sub-paragraphs (5) and (7)) of Schedule 8 amends the Jobseekers Act, to enable all or part of any hardship payment of JSA to be paid to a person other than the claimant. An officer acting on behalf of the Secretary of State will identify the circumstances in which a hardship payment should be paid to another person, whether all or part of the benefit is involved, and the person to whom the payment is to be made.

Regulation 34 of the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1987 allows certain benefit payments to be paid, wholly or in part, to a third party where this is considered necessary in order to protect the interests of the claimant, child or dependent. An example of where this might happen is where the claimant is totally unable to manage his financial affairs and would therefore not use his benefit payment to meet his family’s immediate needs. Whereas standard income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) can already be “split” in this way, the current wording of the Jobseekers Act means that hardship payments of JSA made under section 20(4) or paragraph 10(2) of Schedule 1 can only be made to the claimant.


Hardship payments of JSA, and the circumstances in which they may be made, are described in Part IX of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations 1996. Hardship payments are only made where the claimant, their partner, or a member of their family would suffer hardship because JSA is not paid. Two of the situations in which the Jobseekers Act provides for hardship payment to be made are:

  • Section 20(4) provides that hardship payments may be made to claimants even when sanctions have been applied, under section 19, and their JSA has been withheld. For example, this might be because the claimant failed to attend a prescribed training programme, or lost a job through misconduct.

  • Paragraph 10(2) of Schedule 1 to the Jobseekers Act provides that hardship payments may be made where a claimant’s JSA payments have been suspended, where a question arises as to whether the claimant satisfies any of the labour market conditions of entitlement.

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