Lone parents will have to attend quarterly work-focused interviews to help them keep in touch with the world of work, according to Margaret Hodge, minister for employment and welfare reform.
From today the quarterly interviews will be mandatory for lone parents who claim Income Support when their youngest child reaches the age of 14.
At the interviews they will receive information, advice and guidance about the choices open to them, as well as opportunities for work.
Hodge said experience showed that giving lone parents the opportunity to talk through their problems in work-focused interviews is effective in helping lone parents move into work.
“People’s circumstances change over time and it is important that we continue to see them on a regular basis to tell them about improvements in the package of help that is on offer,” she said.
Lone parents in areas of the South East can also claim an extra £40 a week on top of their wages if they find work, following In-Work Credit pilots.
Hodge said some parents were worried about benefit changes when they move from benefits into jobs.
“We want to help ease the transition and make sure work pays and that lone parents reap the benefits that can be gained from working,” she said.