Benefits restrictions block job prospects

The inflexibility of the benefits system is a key barrier to
employment for people with learning difficulties, new research

A study by the Learning Disability Research partnership says the
“key factor” limiting the hours worked by this client group is the
inability to work more and continue to claim income support.

Despite the 16-hour upper work limit for people attending day
centres, most of those surveyed worked fewer than five hours a
week. This could reduce their chance of learning work-related

“In order to extend employment opportunities for this group, the
income support disregard may need to be increased [from £20 a
week] to permit someone to work for, say eight hours per week at
the national minimum wage without losing their entitlement to
benefits,” the report recommends.

Although some day centres were focused on employment, others
provided little or no employment-related activity, instead
referring their clients to other agencies.

Links to Jobcentre Plus were weak and there was little awareness of
employment programmes relevant to this client group, the report

Further support may also be needed to enable people with learning
difficulties to take advantage of Connexions and to broaden the
opportunities the service offers.

The research was carried out for the Department for Work and
Pensions and the Department of Health.

– Working Lives – The Role of Day Centres in Supporting People
with Learning Difficulties into Employment

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