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Liaison with Jobcentre Plus

This document contains useful information if you are in receipt of welfare benefits and are considering paid involvement.

Part One – has information for you about what to consider when offered paid involvement.

Part Two – is an example of a letter written for Jobcentre Plus by the organisation that may be paying you for involvement. The organisation should give you the letter to use when you are obtaining permission for paid involvement or notifying payments received for involvement in your Universal Credit journal. You should enclose the letter with a Permitted Work (PW1) form, if you are required to notify paid involvement prior to starting.

Give this example letter to the organisation that has asked for your involvement.  The organisation must complete the letter. This is because it must come from them and contain a description of what they do in the second paragraph.

The letter explains the purpose of involvement. It explains the context in which payment is offered and how involvement in health and social care is different from paid employment (especially important to those receiving benefits for limited capacity for work). The letter also explains that you can withdraw from involvement activities at any time (important to those participating in a ‘work programme’ or actively seeking work).

The letter also refers to sections of the Department for Work and Pensions staff guidance that

addresses the regulations covering payment for ‘service user involvement’.

Part One – Information for you to consider

For many involvement activities, payment for your time will be offered by an organisaton to show their appreciation of you sharing your knowledge, experience and perspectives on health and social care issues.

Before you accept an offer to become involved in paid activities, you may want to seek advice about how payment might affect any welfare benefits that you receive. You should read the guidance on the benefits that you receive (Service User Involvement in Health and Social Care: Payment Guidance for service users, patients and carers).

Some welfare benefits have conditions that limit the earnings you can accept, and require you to ask permission from Jobcentre Plus before starting involvement. Other benefits require you to notify Jobcentre Plus of your earnings. In some circumstances, payment received without permission can lead to welfare benefits being reduced or stopped.

Once you have read the written guidance and if possible taken advice, let the organisation offering you involvement know what payment you wish to accept. The organisation should be able to offer you lesser amounts, or voluntary status, if this is your preference. 

The organisation can give you their letter to use when you contact Jobcentre Plus. Part Two gives an example of what the letter should say.

Part two - Letter for Jobcentre Plus from the organisation offering you paid involvement

The purpose of this letter is to explain the planned service user involvement to Jobcentre Plus staff. Jobcentre Plus will accept this explanation where this is provided on an organisation’s headed paper and is signed by a staff member.

The letter describes service user involvement and explains why it is different to work. The letter describes the support that can be provided for mobility and care needs.

The letter also refers to Department for Work and Pensions’ regulations about service user involvement in the Staff Guides, Decision Makers Guide and Advice for Decision Makers.

A note on terminology: The Department for Work and Pensions regulations refer to public involvement as ‘service user involvement’, and it is advisable to use this term when corresponding with or discussing payment for public involvement with welfare benefits authorities. 

Download the example letter.

Acknowledgement and further information

This information has been provided by Judy Scott, independent consultant.

Further information is available at Payment for Public Involvement in Health and Care Research: A guide for organisations on determining the most appropriate payment approach | NIHR


July 2022