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Starting Work Award

The Starting Work Award (SWA) is an award for people on benefits who are returning to full-time work.

The award is intended to help benefit claimants by providing a repayable loan of up to £250 to bridge the financial gap between their final benefit payment and their first salary payment.  

Who can apply for a Starting Work Award?

  • are aged 16 or over

  • are in receipt of universal credit, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment support allowance, income support or pension credit

  • have been resident in the borough for at least six weeks before making your application

  • have repaid any previous loans in full or can demonstrate you are paying off a loan.  

If you do not have a fixed address, then you may be able to apply using your benefit correspondence address if this has been verified.   

When can I apply for this loan? 

Applications for the Starting Work Award must be made within 14 working days of your offer of employment and you signing off Jobcentre Plus benefit.   

Full time employment will be determined as:   

  • 16 hours plus per week for lone parents
  • 24 hours plus per week for couples with children
  • 30 hours plus per week for single people and couples without children.  

What evidence do I need to provide for this award?

You must provide proof of full time, contracted employment and include all of the following:

  • the start date of your employment

  • the date of your first salary payment

  • written permission for us to contact your employer to clarify your employment placement (if required)

  • agreement to complete a feedback questionnaire (once your salary is in payment)

  • confirmation of the date of your final Jobcentre Plus benefit payment. 

If you are self-employed you will not be considered for this award as Jobcentre Plus already provides a wide range of assistance for people in self-employment such as Business Mentors and the New Enterprise Allowance.