1. The Flexible Support Fund (FSF) forms part of the overall Jobcentre Plus
(JCP) Pre-work programme offer, replacing a range of previous support which helped claimants enter and remain in work.
2. JCP claimants are eligible for support from the fund provided they are not in the Work Programme or Work Choice. Advisers must also ensure that all other avenues of financial support have been fully explored and it is confirmed that alternatives are not available before committing expenditure.
3. The fund is a key enabler to meet individual needs in order to maximise offflow into work in line with existing policy guidelines. Awards must be appropriate, good value for tax payers’ money and ensure a claimant can move into work sooner than would otherwise be possible. Payments from the FSF may also be considered to enable claimants to address a skills need which will help their immediate prospects of moving into work. This includes supporting those not required to be available for work, or move into employment, for example those claiming IS/ESA/IB.
4. District Managers are responsible for managing expenditure within their budget and in this context determining how the FSF is spent locally. District
Managers may set local priorities and local guidelines/restrictions on limits for certain types of payments and the amount advisers can award.
5. The decision to award a payment from the FSF is the responsibility of the adviser, taking into account any local priorities, guidelines or restrictions.
Advisers must ensure they target the fund appropriately, using it for those claimants who would not be able to move closer to or into work without such assistance. Advisers should refer to and keep up to date with local guidelines.
6. The fund can be used to cover expenses associated with taking up work or training in line with existing policy guidelines. It can be used to fill gaps and add support where DWP provision, non-contracted partner provision or adviser interventions are not sufficient or appropriate to meet local claimant needs.
7. Payments from the FSF must not be seen as a reward or bonus for moving into work. Advisers should familiarise themselves with this guide, which explains when FSF can and cannot be used, as well as the other chapters contained within the FSF Guidance. A table of links to these chapters has been included at the end of this guidance.
8. Support from the fund is available from day one of a new claim for all
Jobcentre Plus claimants who are not participating in the Work Programme or
Note: Some payments made from the FSF retain specific eligibility, for example
In Work Emergency Payments for Lone Parents and CRB/PVG checks. Always check relevant guidance to ensure eligibility is met before making an award or payment. 9. Partners of claimants receiving benefit (potential second earners) are eligible if they are over 16 and their partner is receiving a qualifying benefit. The qualifying benefits are:
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
Income Support (IS)
Incapacity Benefit (IB)
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Carers Allowance (CA)
Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)
Working Tax Credit (WTC)
Pension Credit (PC)
10. People not claiming benefit are eligible in the following circumstances:
Carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance only, or not in receipt of any benefit, are eligible if they are:
aged 16 years or older and
not working or working less than 16 hours per week
Lone Parents not claiming benefit are eligible if they are responsible for and a member of the same household, as a child or young person and they: are aged over 16
have a dependant child aged under 16
are not working, or
are working less than 16 hours a week, and
are not an asylum seeker (unless they have exceptional leave to stay)
are not required to participate in any mandatory