Coronavirus update – benefit reviews and reassessments suspended from DWP 24/03/2020
This temporary measure, effective from Tuesday 24 March, is being taken to reassure vulnerable people about the continuity of their benefits during the coronavirus outbreak and to ensure the Department’s resources are focused on enabling access to financial support for new claimants. This follows on from a previous announcement to suspend all face-to-face assessments in order to safeguard potentially vulnerable claimants.
Work and Pensions Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey said:
As this country ramps up its efforts to support people through coronavirus, we will do whatever it takes to protect claimants and our staff.
We are automatically extending all awards and reassessments for health and disability benefits to provide that reassurance to those in receipt of them.
Information for claimants
what this means for you:
- there will be no new reviews or reassessments across all benefits for three months – this includes Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
- face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits have been suspended for the next 3 months including for any new claims.
- PIP claimants, if an assessment has already taken place this will continue to be processed. If an assessment has been scheduled, claimants will be contacted by the assessment provider to discuss how this will be taken forward.
- ESA and UC claimants whose cases have been referred to the provider will be contacted to take this forward.
New Benefit claims: 24/03/2020
Public access to jobcentres is to be restricted, with thousands of staff moved to focus on processing new claims as part of the government’s effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The new measures, are designed to support people to stay at home and will mean that members of the public will not be admitted into jobcentres unless they are directed to do so and have a booked appointment– this may change as time goes on. Only the most vulnerable claimants who cannot access DWP services by other channels will be invited to attend, with others urged to use online services first, keeping phone lines free for those who really need them.
With a rise in new claims, and with demand for support over the phone increasing, the DWP says the restriction on access to jobcentres will enable it to move 10,000 existing staff to process new claims, to work alongside 1,500 newly recruited staff