Section 5: Proposals Job Grant Eligibility Criteria
30. The eligibility criteria have been developed following discussion with a wide range of stakeholders, including young people and their representative organisations.
31. Eligibility will be determined through a series of tests carried out by Social Security Scotland on the date of application. The client is the young person applying for the Job Grant. The proposed main eligibility conditions are:
a) aged 16-24 years inclusive (apart from care leavers who will be eligible for a year longer), and has not previously received a Job Grant
b) has been out of paid work and in receipt of a qualifying benefit for 6 months or more (except for care leavers who only need to be on a qualifying benefit, at the time of the job offer and do not need to meet the time requirement);
c) is ordinarily resident in Scotland;
d) is in receipt of a job offer for paid employment in the UK, that averages 16 hours per week or more over a four week period, and the job is expected to last at least three months or more; and
e) applications can be made 14 days in advance of employment start date and up to 14 days after employment has commenced.
32. The sections below give more detail on each of these criteria:
a) Age - The client must be aged 16-24 years old (inclusive) on the date the job offer is made, apart from care leavers who can be eligible for a year longer, until their 26th birthday. We have chosen age on the date of the job offer, rather than the date of application, to ensure that young people who have obtained employment aged 24 are not disadvantaged if they turn 25 (or 26 for care leavers) in the period between receiving the job offer and starting work.
b) Qualifying benefits and length of time out of work – The young person must have been out of paid employment and in receipt of a qualifying benefit for at least 6 months on the date the job is due to commence, in recognition that longer periods of unemployment early in life are more likely to have a long term detrimental impact. The exception to this is care leavers, who need only be on a qualifying benefit.
The qualifying benefits are:
- Jobseekers Allowance (except for those who are working up to 16 hours a week).
- Income Support.
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
- Universal Credit (except for those who are already in paid employment).
Jobseekers Allowance was traditionally the benefit claimed by young people who were unemployed and actively looking for work, but this is now being replaced by Universal Credit as it rolls out across Scotland.
Young people aged 16- 24 who are claiming ESA, Income Support, and UC (non-work related activity) are not required by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to look for work. However, they may be successful in finding employment and, consequently, we would not want them to be excluded from applying for the Job Grant. We have therefore included these benefits in the list of qualifying benefits for Job Grant. This will help to extend the reach of the Job Grant to an additional 20% of young people, many of whom will be lone parents, young carers or young people with disabilities.
In addition, this eligibility criterion allows for both a simple application and verification process to test the 6 month out of paid work condition, as well as aligning with the Job Grant policy intent to support those on low incomes.
c) Residence – The client must be ordinarily resident in Scotland. Ordinary residence is defined as the place where a person is currently living for a settled purpose (they are not simply visiting). It is therefore relatively simple to administrate and will require young people to provide relatively straightforward evidence of residence.
In practice, clients will already have been through an in-depth process to establish residency when applying for their DWP qualifying benefit. A further advantage of this simpler and more accessible approach is therefore that it may allow Social Security Scotland to rely on the information it will already possess through access to DWP systems, again reducing the burden on clients.
d) The offer of employment – to qualify for Job Grant the job offer must be for paid work of at least 16 hours per week. The 16 hours aligns with the proposed eligibility criteria for Young Carers Grant that states a young carer is to provide an average of 16 hours of care per week.
The use of average hours tries to address the evidence from stakeholders that many young people are on zero hour contracts, with 8.1% of 16 – 24 year olds on a zero hour contract according to the ONS (2018) Labour Market Survey.
To accommodate contracts with varying hours we propose to average weekly hours over a 4 week period to allow for fluctuations in weekly hours so as not to disadvantage those without set contracted hours.
We also propose that the job on offer must be capable of, or expected to last three months or longer. This is in recognition of the fact that many young people aged 16-24 are more likely to be in a temporary job; and the aim of the Job Grant is to help them enter longer-term employment. A job offer for at least 3 months can enhance a young person’s confidence, skill set and make them more employable, providing a pathway into longer term sustainable employment. This is expected to have positive outcomes for the economy through consumer spending and reduced welfare costs.
e) Application period - We are currently considering how long someone should have to apply for Job Grant following receipt of an offer of employment.
As they will be out of paid employment, we expect that young people eligible for the Job Grant should, therefore, be available to start work almost immediately as there is no notice period to consider. However, there may be some time required for the employer in terms of checking references or completing security checks before the young person can begin work.
We are proposing that applications could be made 14 days in advance of employment start date and up to 14 days after employment has commenced. Any further in advance of the start date increases the risk that the offer of employment could fall through or not be taken up by client. This would allow for an overall application window of 28 days, and would mean that those who have been given an immediate start or found out about the job grant after commencing employment would not be excluded from applying due to having already started work.
This application window aligns with the policy intent to help with travel and other costs at the very start of the employment period, before regular receipt of a salary.
SSPD Job Grant Eligibility Consultation