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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  COVID-19: Benefit claims and administration  →  Thread

Sickness and disability benefit reviews and reassessments suspended

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shawn mach
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Govt announcement this evening ..

..  the changes, that will apply from tomorrow, will mean that there will be no new reviews or reassessments across all sickness and disability benefits - including universal credit, ESA, PIP, DLA, AA and industrial injuries disablement benefit - for at least the next three months

More: Sickness and disability benefit reviews and reassessments suspended for the next three months as a result of the coronavirus outbreak

JojoMitchell
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Does this include PIP review forms and ESA/UC50’s being returned?  I asked PIP and they just said to call and ask for an extension but not all clients can use a phone (or wait over an hour as it currently is taking!)  Haven’t called ESA yet!

hkrishna
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Hi Jo. I asked DWP about these issues last week but yet to get a response. One suggestion is that they do paper assessments or if want to do telephone ones maybe do it 3 way with adviser/friend to assist? Think the worry (just speaking to a CAB adviser about this) is that if extend/delay, people don’t get an initial award or their current award runs out - nothing official as yet to address that issue that I’ve seen.

JojoMitchell
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Thanks. My client is in the support group and self isolating due to her health conditions (at risk) and is worried about not getting the form back.

JojoMitchell
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Just received this from my contact at ESA:
“No failed to return questionnaire decisions are being undertaken at present and this is also true with other types of decisions that we handle (FTAs and No LCW decisions)”.

hkrishna
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They need to put that out officially then as quite a few advisers are asking about it.

JojoMitchell
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Will pass this on - the message was from a complaints manager.

BC Welfare Rights
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I have had several people contact me this morning who have already received PIP review forms. I have advised them to contact PIP. From the ones I have heard back from, PIP is giving 12 weeks extensions to return the forms.

JojoMitchell
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Good to know, thanks!

Daphne
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Further advice received via DWP stakeholder forum -

So, a question was raised regarding the suspension of reassessments/reviews for disability benefits and clarification requested around what the situation is for customers who have recently started the process (e.g. are now filling the PIP review form, or have recently sent it in) – do they still need to send the form in or can they ignore the review date, and be contacted again once the situation has returned to normal?

The clarification is - Customers in this situation do not need to do anything.  We will extend current awards and will contact customers at a later date to review their PIP claim.

juliem
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Thanks for that Daphne. have they said if the same applies to AA renewals? Thanks.

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juliem - 25 March 2020 01:00 PM

Thanks for that Daphne. have they said if the same applies to AA renewals? Thanks.

We’ve heard that AA renewals will be converted to indefinite awards. However, this was by email and we’re trying to clarify whether this will be put into the public domain through some form of guidance.

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Daphne - 25 March 2020 12:57 PM

Further advice received via DWP stakeholder forum -

That’s good news but are they likely to put it somewhere in the public domain as guidance? I’d be more comfortable advising clients of that if I had something to point to from a public source (which is no slight against you but it’s a bit easier to justify “Government Guidance” than “People who I know that are impeccably reliable from the internet”!).

Daphne
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I could always forward the email but I agree it should be in the public domain - I will email back about that…

Ken Butler
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Hi Daphne,

Would you also be able to ask if people who’ve been asked to complete sent an ESA50 to complete also don’t now have to do so?

Thanks.

Daphne
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I will do Ken

Also another update on DLA to PIP reassesments -

We have been contacted by a couple of members who have received their DLA to PIP transfer form. What is the process for them please.

The answer - You do not need to do anything. You do not need to claim PIP at this time. We will extend your DLA Adult award. Your payments will continue. We will contact you in the future about claiming PIP.

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Daphne - 25 March 2020 05:25 PM

I could always forward the email but I agree it should be in the public domain - I will email back about that…

Thanks Daphne!

Daphne
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They’ve said they are looking to do it asap!  Will keep you updated on any progress…

BC Welfare Rights
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I received this from a friend who works in a different area to me, forwarded by DWP dated 24.03.20:

Note that it is marked “DRAFT”, this is not definitive advice: (spread over 2 posts)

PIP – Corona Virus – Covid 19 - Lines to Take
Following the Government’s decision to move to the “Delay” phase of the Coronavirus outbreak, DWP took the decision to suspend all face to face assessments for health and disability related benefits from Tuesday 17th March. A decision has also now been taken to suspend all review and reassessment activity unless an individual reports a change in their needs from Tuesday 24th March.

We expect the measure to be in place for the next three months but we will be regularly reviewing the position in line with Public Health advice.
Where awards are due to expire, we will be extending end-dates so that all claimants continue to receive financial support at their current rate during this period.

If people experience a change in their needs they are still encouraged to contact the Department to ensure they are receiving the correct level of support.
For PIP, 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.


For information - Assessment Provider communications approach
Independent Assessment Services (IAS) and Capita have started to contact claimants to advise them that their face to face assessment will now not take place. This will be followed by a letter from the relevant assessment provider.
Information for claimants has also be published on the assessment provider websites and also on GOV.UK
We will also post messages on the Department’s social media channels and share messages with external claimant representative organisations via existing routes (External Affairs Team, Operational Stakeholder Forum and local DWP Partnership Managers).


Telephony Instructions: Potential scenarios
Scenario Action
New - Award Review – I am currently claiming PIP and am due to have my award reviewed - what do I do? You do not need to do anything.  We will extend your current award. We will contact you at a later date to review your PIP claim

New - Award Review – I am currently claiming PIP and have returned the Award Review form – what do I do? You do not need to do anything.  We will extend your current award. We will contact you at a later date to review your PIP claim

New - I currently receive Child DLA for [name], and we have received an invite to claim PIP as they are 16 years old. We have not yet called the PIP new claim number, do we still need to do that?
No, because of the current situation with coronavirus, you/your child are now not required to claim PIP at this time.

Your child’s current Child DLA payment will continue
We will contact you at a later date to invite you/your child to claim PIP again
New – my child currently gets DLA child and we have received an invite to claim PIP as they are 16. We called the PIP new claim line and have been sent a ‘how your disability affects you form’ – do we still need to complete it and return it?
No, you do not need to return the ‘How your disability affects you’ form at this time.

Your child’s DLA payment will continue.

We will contact you at a later date to invite you/your child to claim PIP again.
New - I currently receive Child DLA for [name], they have now claimed PIP and returned the How your Disability Affects you form – what do I do?
You do not need to do anything. We have extended your Child’s current Child DLA award. Their payment will continue. We will contact you in the future about claiming PIP.
New - I currently claim DLA Adult, and have been invited to claim PIP - what do I do?
You do not need to do anything. You do not need to claim PIP at this time. We will extend your DLA Adult award. Your payments will continue. We will contact you in the future about claiming PIP.
New - I currently claim DLA Adult and have just claimed PIP.  I’ve return my How your Disability Affects You form already – what do I do?
You do not need to do anything. We will extend your DLA Adult award. Your payments will continue. We will retain your ‘How Your Disability Affects You’ form for future use, and will contact you at a later date about claiming PIP.
New - I currently claim PIP [under Special Rules] and my award is due to end – what do I do?

Note - If claimant doesn’t mention they receive PIP under Special Rules please be cautious as they may not be aware.

You do not need to do anything. We will automatically extend your award for a six month period.
New - Claims with Fixed Term, no award Awards – I currently claim PIP and my award is due to end – what do I do? You do not need to do anything. We will automatically extend your award for a six month period.
Updated - PIP claimant has received PIP2 form but is unable to return it as they cannot get assistance to complete it or leave their property to post it back to us.

Advise the claimant they have been given an extension to 90 days from when the form was issued.

Note - All cases have automatically been extended to 90 days, however in PIPCS it will show as 40 days for cases where no extension has already been granted, or 54 for those where an extension has been granted. 

No further action is required because all cases have been automatically been extended and PIPCS will be updated to reflect the 90 day timer in due course.

Existing - PIP claimant has received AR1 form but is unable to return it as they cannot get assistance to complete it or leave their property to post it back to us.
You don’t need to do anything.  We will extend your current award. We will contact you at a later date to re assess your PIP claim.

 

BC Welfare Rights
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(cont)
Existing - PIP claimant has received AR1 form but is unable to return it as they cannot get assistance to complete it or leave their property to post it back to us.
You don’t need to do anything.  We will extend your current award. We will contact you at a later date to re assess your PIP claim.


Updated - I have a face to face assessment this week. I haven’t been contacted by anyone to cancel my appointment.  What will happen?
If you have a face to face assessment appointment arranged, please do not attend this. The Assessment provider will contact you to explain the next steps.

You may be invited to a telephone assessment appointment.  If you are it is important that you take part.

If you do not have a date for a face-to-face assessment you do not need to do anything. We will contact you shortly to let you know what will happen next.

Updated - I have a face to face assessment in 2 / 3 weeks’ time, or I’ve just received an appointment letter what do I do
If you have a face to face assessment appointment arranged, please do not attend this. The Assessment provider will contact you to explain the next steps.

You may be invited to a telephone assessment appointment.  If you are it is important that you take part.

If you do not have a date for a face-to-face assessment you do not need to do anything. We will contact you shortly to let you know what will happen next.

Updated - Does this mean I won’t receive my benefit
No.  We will continue to accept and process New Claims to PIP without the need for face-to-face assessments. We will use the information you have sent to us to make a decision on your claim, alongside any other information we have already, and will be in touch if necessary

For existing claimants, benefits will remain in payment while alternative arrangements are put in place.

Updated - How will my claim be processed if are there no face to face assessments We have suspended all face-to-face assessments in order to safeguard the health of our claimants and staff members. IAS and Capita will be in contact to advise what the next steps and alternatives in their assessment are.

You may be invited to a telephone assessment appointment.  If you are it is important that you take part.

Existing - What about people who can’t engage over the telephone?
We are very aware that for some claimants, particularly those with certain health conditions or disabilities, it may not be possible to carry out assessments over the phone. In addition, there may also be cases where the paper-based evidence is limited. We are therefore urgently working to identify the best approach in these circumstances and we will take all steps possible to ensure individuals can access the financial support they are entitled to.


Existing - I couldn’t attend my face to face appointment recently because I was self-isolating or worried about attending because of the Corona Virus.  What will happen to my claim?
We will make a note on our systems.  Our case managers will review all available evidence and will be in contact.

The following must be recorded on PIPCS in both Communications and Notes tabs along with any actions taken.
‘Coronavirus – state if self-isolation or diagnosed and the effective date of the diagnosis/self-isolation.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Clarification about AA awards.

Indefinite awards are applicable to all new awards of Attendance Allowance. Customers who are due a Renewal will be identified by ourselves and will have their entitlement ‘knocked on’ i.e. awarded for an indefinite period without the requirement to complete/send a claim form.

The changes implemented are a temporary measure.

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The PIP recorded message has at least been updated to say there’s a 3 month extension, but do you know what the official line is for ESA50s issued for re-assessments started before 24/3.  Thanks in advance

 

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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 26 March 2020 12:28 PM

Clarification about AA awards.

Indefinite awards are applicable to all new awards of Attendance Allowance. Customers who are due a Renewal will be identified by ourselves and will have their entitlement ‘knocked on’ i.e. awarded for an indefinite period without the requirement to complete/send a claim form.

The changes implemented are a temporary measure.

Well, they’ve finally found something which fits even less comfortably than ‘review’ with the wording of the SSA 1998, then…

Any intelligence on whether claimants should expect the decision at the same point the new claim form/AR1 questionnaire would otherwise be sent to them would be gratefully received. Nothing here seems to explain how someone will know for certain that they haven’t fallen through a crack in the new process unless they contact DWP themselves.

Jon

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Hi, is the guidance that all PIP2 and PIP review forms already sent out have a automatic extension of 12 weeks?  Is this official now?

BC Welfare Rights
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The PIP helpline has a recorded message saying that the ‘how your disability affects you form’ (PIP2) deadline has been extended for 3 months from the date that you received it (presumably it means the date on the letter accompanying the form).

It says that if you are currently receiving PIP and are expecting it to be reviewed soon, or if your award has an end date, PIP will contact you soon to say what happens next.

It doesn’t make clear what happens if you already have a (AR1) review form with a deadline for returning it but presumably that comes within the second para?

Sarah Jones
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Is there updated guidance on this, after the draft guidance BC posted?
I have two clients, one who has received a form to complete as he is approaching the end of his PIP fixed term award, and another who’s son has turned 16 so she has a form to complete to move him from DLA to PIP.
In both cases, I’m 90% comfortable telling them that the previous award will be continued and they don’t need to worry about returning the forms by the original deadline, but I want to be 100% sure! They’ve both tried calling DLA/PIP to confirm but haven’t been able to get through.
Thank you.

Daphne
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I think this page gives it -

Additional information about the suspension of reviews and assessments:

- the suspension will be kept under regular review and extended if necessary.
- if people experience a change in their needs they are still encouraged to contact the Department to ensure they are receiving the correct level of support.
- where awards are due to expire, we will be extending end-dates so that claimants continue to receive financial support at their current rate during this period.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Would that apply for a DLA to PIP transfer though? Strictly speaking, that isn’t a reassessment or a renewal.

BC Welfare Rights
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Daphne - 08 April 2020 11:45 AM

I think this page gives it -

Additional information about the suspension of reviews and assessments:

- where awards are due to expire, we will be extending end-dates so that claimants continue to receive financial support at their current rate during this period.

I think that this bit should cover DLA awards though.

Daphne
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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 08 April 2020 12:00 PM

Would that apply for a DLA to PIP transfer though? Strictly speaking, that isn’t a reassessment or a renewal.

Would it not count as that if it’s the one at age 16 though - it’s a reassessment because DLA award is coming to an end?

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BC Welfare Rights - 08 April 2020 01:22 PM
Daphne - 08 April 2020 11:45 AM

I think this page gives it -

Additional information about the suspension of reviews and assessments:

- where awards are due to expire, we will be extending end-dates so that claimants continue to receive financial support at their current rate during this period.

I think that this bit should cover DLA awards though.

I think it covers all disability benefits -

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.