The Home Office and Department for Work and Pensions had come together in December 2016 to roll out an assisted service to support new refugees to transition from asylum support to mainstream benefits. This was known as the ‘Warm Handover’ Service and was piloted in the North East and Yorkshire and Humber regions. This service is now called the ‘Post Grant Appointment Service’ and has been rolled out nationally. The process involves contacting all newly granted applicants as early in the 28 day grace period as possible. Applicants are contacted by telephone where the Home Office has a contact number, otherwise they will receive a letter, asking whether they would like help facilitating their access to mainstream benefits.
Where applicants confirm that they would like assistance, an initial appointment with the DWP Job Centre is made for them and they then receive accurate information of the time and venue of the appointment. During the appointment, the DWP staff take the process further to complete the required application form and to arrange a cash advance if appropriate. Refugees referred to Job Centres by the Home Office via this service should then be part of their ‘Vulnerable Persons pathway’, an existing DWP process which involves targeted additional support to individuals which should enable them to access benefits.