The Government has recently made some changes to the welfare system due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the main ones to be aware of:
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) face-to-face assessments and Work Capability Assessments for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit have all been suspended until 17th June 2020.
Anyone whose benefit is due to be reviewed during this time will continue to receive their current benefit while alternative arrangements are put in place by DWP. If you have received a renewal form, you are now advised that you do not have to complete it, your claim will be extended and you will be contacted in future about renewal.
New claims for PIP will still be accepted and you will be contacted about an alternative means of assessment, possibly a telephone assessment or on the basis of submitted medical evidence.
Anyone making a new claim for Universal Credit, or ESA because they are too unwell to work, is no longer required to go to their GP to get a sick note. There is also no requirement to attend jobcentre appointments before 19th June 2020 at the earliest - unless you are asked to do so for an exceptional purpose.
Both the Universal Credit standard allowance and the Working Tax Credit basic element will increase by up to £20 a week for 12 months. We believe that The Government should immediately give all benefits the same emergency increase that Universal Credit has seen and support the Disability Benefits Consortium's campaign to to stop leaving disabled people behind. Have your say: sign the petition here.
There’s a useful webpage, which is updated regularly with news of the alterations the Department for Work and Pensions is making to benefits due to coronavirus, here: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus