Reviews and reassessments for disability benefits are being suspended for the next three months, as the UK battles with the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced the temporary measure, which took effect on Tuesday March 24, this week.
“We are automatically extending all awards and reassessments for health and disability benefits to provide that reassurance to those in receipt of them.”
So, what does this measure mean for benefits claimants?
The DWP has said that there will be no new reviews or reassessments across all benefits for three months.
The includes Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
Additionally, face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits have been suspended for the next three months, and this includes for any new claims.
However, PIP claimants need to be aware that if an assessment has already taken place, then this will continue to be processed.
However, if a PIP assessment has been scheduled, claimants will be contacted by the assessment provider, in order to discuss how this would be taken forward.
Meanwhile, ESA and Universal Credit claimants whose cases have been referred to the provider will be contacted to take this forward, the DWP said.
While the suspension is to last three months, the Department said that this will be kept under regular review, and extended if necessary.
Should a person experience a change in their needs, they are still encouraged to contact the DWP to ensure that they are receiving the correct level of support, it said.
In situations where awards are due to expire, the DWP says it will be extending end-dates so that claimants continue to receive financial support at their current rate during this period.
Last week, it was announced the people receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for at least three months.
In a bid to cope with increased demand, individuals are being urged to access online services prior to phoning up for help with their benefit cliam, while access to jobcentres has been limited to being for the most vulnerable.
On Monday evening, Boris Johnson delivered a message to the UK, informing viewers of new stringent measures intended to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The Prime Minister said: “From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.
“Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.
“That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes – shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible, one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household, any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
“That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.”