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Welfare Reform Act 2009

Section 10: Power to direct claimant to undertake specific work-related activity

94.Section 10 allows the Secretary of State to specify a work-related activity which a claimant of employment and support allowance, in the work-related activity group, must undertake as a condition of continuing to be entitled to the full amount of his allowance. Work-related activity is activity aimed at helping the claimant obtain work, remain in work or to be more likely to obtain or remain in work. This will not apply to claimants whose condition limits them to the extent that they could not reasonably be required to undertake work-related activity as a condition of receiving their benefit.

95.Section 10 amends section 15 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007 which provides a power for the Secretary of State to direct that a specific activity in the case of an individual is not to count as work-related activity under the requirements imposed by section 13 of that Act. This is intended to stop claimants seeking to satisfy the requirement to undertake work-related activity by undertaking activity considered inappropriate for their circumstances.

96.New subsection (1)(a) provides that in addition to the existing power under section 13 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007, the Secretary of State can, in prescribed circumstances, direct that a specific activity is the only activity which can, in the person’s case, be regarded as work-related activity. This is intended to enable the Secretary of State to require claimants to undertake a specific activity in certain circumstances. New subsection (1A) ensures that a claimant cannot be required to undertake medical or surgical treatment to meet their work-related activity requirement.

97.New subsection (2)(a) requires that any direction given to the claimant must be reasonable, having regard to the person’s circumstances. New subsection (2)(b) requires that any direction given to the claimant under subsection (1) must be recorded in the claimant’s action plan. Failure to undertake the specified activity without showing good cause for this within the allowed time would be sanctionable.

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