HC Deb 15 July 2003 vol 409 c239W
Mr. Heald

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the measures in place in respect of(a) jobseekers allowance, (b) housing benefit and (c) other benefits to meet the needs of agency workers who are regularly unemployed for short periods of time. [124021]

Mr. Browne

Agency workers can experience intermittent periods of employment and unemployment. The fear of finding themselves involved in a lengthy claim process and without an income during these periods of unemployment may have, in the past, discouraged many people from taking this type of work.

In order to assist people in these circumstances we introduced Rapid Reclaim to ensure a smooth transition from work to benefit. Rapid Reclaim is available to customers who find themselves having to reclaim Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit within 12 weeks of having previously claimed the same benefit. The Rapid Reclaim process allows Decision Makers to use information provided for the previous claim alongside a shorter claim form, completed by the customer, that captures any changes that may have occurred during the break in their claim. This speeds up the data collection process and so reduces the time from making a claim to receiving the first payment.

Rapid Reclaim is making it easier for people to take up work, that may be only short-term or through an agency, as it reduces the fear that there will be a delay in the resumption of benefits during the periods that they are off work.