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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Covid-19: Welfare benefit issues  →  Thread

Sickness and disability benefit reviews and reassessments suspended

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Mike Hughes
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A lot to wade through here.

PIP supersession went in via a 1021 in December. PIP claimed they’d not rec’d it but after follow up from the clt. they may have done.

I’ve been trying to contact PIP by phone over the last couple of weeks but I can’t really justify staying on a work mobile for more than 90 minutes.

So, anyone know the current status of a supersession which has allegedly been in ages? Presumably sat on for now?

Similarly, anyone got an email address for escalation?

Client in receipt of both components of PIP so not critical right now. Essentially an argument over 2 points but nevertheless it’s a loose end I need to tie up.

EJ
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Hi All.  Would be really grateful to just to get a clarification please:

Client was awarded a Fixed Term PIP award at Tribunal which is due to expire in August.  She had already been “invited” to start a new claim, which she did,  but we didn’t have time to get the PIP2 completed before the lockdown.

Is this technically a “renewal” if the term was fixed by the Tribunal, please?  Will the new PIP extension (i.e.beyond the expiry date) just always apply regardless of how the award was previously decided?

Thanks in advance
Stay well
Elaine

Mike Hughes
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As per post #18 on the previous page I suspect.

EJ
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Mike Hughes - 17 April 2020 12:47 PM

As per post #18 on the previous page I suspect.

I hope so, Mike. 
Client was concerned as the PIP help line message makes reference to completing the PIP2 within 90 days of the date of issue, which, for her, was early March.. I’ll talk with her again in June.
Thanks very much
Elaine

 

Gemap
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BC Welfare Rights - 26 March 2020 10:31 AM

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)


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.


Could possibly be on the wrong page as everyone else. My client had a fixed term award that was due to end on 04/04/20. They phoned to get a new PIP2 before 24/03/20, completed and returned the form. It is with the assessment provider. The DWP ended the award on 04/04/20. When I called to dispute this as opposite to the what was stated by the Secretary of State on the govt website (“We are automatically extending all awards and reassessments for health and disability benefits to provide that reassurance to those in receipt of them.”) was told that this did not include “short term awards” where the PIP2 form had already been returned.

I spoke to a member of the telephony team and they put me through to a decision maker; both said the same. I put in an official complaint but am I barking up the wrong tree? did everyone understand fixed term awards would still end during the pandemic? Seems to contradict the above draft advice for telephony operators as quoted.

Benny Fitzpatrick
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It seems not all DWP staff are singing from the same hymn sheet. Nothing unusual there, then.

roecab
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Has there been any clarity on this point?

SG LB C
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Does anyone know if there is any word on requirement to keep submitting fit notes during this suspension of assessing in the case of ESA and UC?

Also I have a client coming to the end of her CB ESA,  (IR not applicable)and has not yet been assessed for lcwwra.
I am hoping then that her claim will not just end…..

Liam C
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BC Welfare Rights - 26 March 2020 10:31 AM

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:

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.

 

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/disability-benefit-awards-to-be-automatically-extended-by-six-months-if-due-for-reassessment-in-the-next-three-months-says-minister

Hi

I haven’t seen anything from the DWP to suggest that fixed term PIP awards with no review will be extended.

The news article about the update from Justin Tomlinson suggests only disability benefit awards that have been scheduled for review will be extended.

So am i right in thinking that at the moment the advice is:

If you have a PIP award that is due to expire in the next 6 months, call DWP to ask if your award is going to be extended, and if it is not being extended, or they can’t tell you, then put in a new claim.

If you have a PIP award that has been scheduled for review in the next 3 months, then expect not to receive a review form for at least 6 months.

Update: I forgot about this:

“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.”
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-update-benefit-reviews-and-reassessments-suspended

Has anyone seen anything any more detailed than this?

Liam

[ Edited: 24 Apr 2020 at 11:13 am by Liam C ]
EJ
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Justin Tomlinson in the Commons chamber yesterday:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-05-11/debates/B0120E81-4DBF-4ACD-AF05-B634AA997B09/Access-To-WorkCosts 

Don’t know if I’ve posted this link properly but Karin Smyth asked:

“...On 4 May, the Secretary of State assured the House that the Government would provide an automatic extension of PIP awards that are due to expire during the coronavirus virus pandemic. Can the Minister confirm that this extension applies to all claimants, including those who received an award following an appeal?

Justin Tomlinson

Obviously, PIP is different from access to work. There was an issue for those on fixed-term, short awards, but we have now addressed that, and those claimants will continue to get an automatic six months’ extension if it is due in the next three months.”

I just wish the DWP would formalise this, but it’s really encouraging.

Elaine

Andrew Dutton
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I’ve got a claimant who submitted UC50 in October last year who has queried the progress of the claim and has been told that nothing can be done owing to the current situation.

Interestingly, DWP also fought like fury against issuing the UC50 in the first place, saying that the claimant had, in so many words, not asked for it properly, in spite of DWP being told in January 2019 that she considered her condition had deteriorated and she wished them to look at an LCWRA award.

Andrew Dutton
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The claimant in my post above has received this response from UC to her request for her case to be updated:

‘We are not currently doing work capability assessments over the phone. I know that claims for
personal independence claims are conducting appointments over the phone,
this might be what’s coursed (sic) the confusion.’

I must admit that had confused me. So WCAs have just halted altogether, even ones applied for months ago?

 

 

Keith S Adviser
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One can only assume that the re-deployment of DWP’s finest to UC duties, maybe the reason, or self isolation perhaps ?

Ros
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Responding to written question in parliament on 14 May 2020, Justin Tomlinson confirms that extension to PIP awards applies to awards made by tribunal on appeal.

Daphne
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Some info via stakeholder forum on PIP telephone assessments - let me know if any issues to feed back -

PIP & PIP representation - I’ve received a couple of queries/questions regarding claiming PIP and PIP representation, please see below for detail and request for examples if appropriate.

1. Customers are reporting that telephone PIP assessments do not have the facility for a representative to be included in the assessment.

Both Capita and IAS offer a 3 way calling facility for telephone assessments. The details on how to request this is noted in the assessment invite letter. If this is not happening, please provide specific examples to allow further investigation.

2. When making a PIP claim, call centre staff and HCPs are stating customers cannot have an advocate or family member included in the call.

All guidance for our teams undertaking phone calls outline that there is the facility for a representative to be included.  As above, grateful for any particular examples if this remains an issue.

Daphne
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Info via stakeholders on what to do when PIP awards come to an end - questions and responses below -

What happens if a person has a fixed award for PIP that is coming to an end - will the award be extended automatically without them having to make a claim? If so, for how long?

a)You do not need to do anything. We will add 6 months to your award end date.

You still need to tell us about changes which might affect the amount of benefit you get.

We will send you a letter with your new end date.

We will also contact you again, before the new end date of your award, to remind you to make a new PIP claim, if you want to.

Is it a different process if they award was made by a tribunal - some people have been told that the DWP cannot extend a tribunal award - on what basis are they saying this?

b)It doesn’t matter why the claim is a Fixed Term Award, the above covers all Fixed Term Awards. If the fixed term award ended before 24th March then payment would have stopped and that type of award cannot be put back in to payment, however if they are awarded on their new claim we would backdate.

What happens if they have submitted a claim but there is a delay in this being decided - will the award be extended until there is a decision on the new claim?

c)It depends what stage the claim is at and will be considered depending on customer’s individual circumstances.

 

Daphne
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And finally some info where people have received PIP2 forms -

If people have received PIP2 forms or ESA50/UC50 forms, how long do they have to return them?

a) All PIP2, PIP2UIs and Award Reviews have had their timers extended.  All have 93 days from the date on the top of the covering letter to return the form.  Requests beyond the 93 days can be made, reasons MUST be given and Case Managers will decide if an extension is appropriate.

For customers with an additional support marker on their record we would not stop their claim If forms had not been returned. We would continue to progress the claim, either making further enquiries with the claimant and/or sending it over to the assessment provider.

Will their benefit continue if they fail to return them?

b)Negative determinations have not been paused for all events.

 

BC Welfare Rights
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Thanks for this Daphne.

Daphne - 16 June 2020 10:04 AM

What happens if they have submitted a claim but there is a delay in this being decided - will the award be extended until there is a decision on the new claim?

c)It depends what stage the claim is at and will be considered depending on customer’s individual circumstances.

What kind of an answer is that? They may as well have said ‘we will if we feel like it, we won’t if we don’t.’ Is there any chance of pressing them for some clarification of this, perhaps the guidance (if it exists) used to inform their considerations? I will do an FOI in the meantime, can you let me know (by DM if necessary) where exactly this info has come from? Thanks.

Daphne
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Hi BC

It was a direct email to me - happy to send you a copy if you want - and yes I’m seeking clarification on that point!

BC Welfare Rights
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Thanks Daphne, yes please forward me the email. I am usually fairly sanguine about these things but for some reason that answer has really annoyed me today. Grrr.

Daphne
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Have done Billy :)

Daphne
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Written answer yesterday advises that -

DWP has commissioned a survey of claimants who have had experience of a telephone assessment. The survey will be undertaken over Summer 2020 and the findings will be published in line with Government Social Research Protocols.

Emily Butler
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Thanks for that Daphne, very useful! Mind is running a campaign on keeping remote assessments (with improvements) as a permanent option for those who find face-to-face assessments challenging: https://twitter.com/MindCharity/status/1273196129140854786

If anyone hears anything about the DWP announcing an extension of the face-to-face suspension this week, I’m sure we’d all be grateful if you wouldn’t mind sharing it here!

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Wasn’t there a survey about phone assessments a few weeks back? I seem to recall that amongst our advisers / the general feeling was that they should be retained as an option, though issues were identified, so lots of polishing is required. Is any feedback from this available, or is it too early yet?

Daphne
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BC Welfare Rights - 16 June 2020 10:15 AM

Thanks for this Daphne.

Daphne - 16 June 2020 10:04 AM

What happens if they have submitted a claim but there is a delay in this being decided - will the award be extended until there is a decision on the new claim?

c)It depends what stage the claim is at and will be considered depending on customer’s individual circumstances.

What kind of an answer is that? They may as well have said ‘we will if we feel like it, we won’t if we don’t.’ Is there any chance of pressing them for some clarification of this, perhaps the guidance (if it exists) used to inform their considerations? I will do an FOI in the meantime, can you let me know (by DM if necessary) where exactly this info has come from? Thanks.

This is the response to my seeking further clarification -

Without more detail, PIP colleagues have advised that customers with a fixed term award ending between 24 March and 2 October 2020 are having their PIP extended for 6 months, where possible. If claimants are subject to immigration control and have limited leave to remain in the UK, their award might not be extended. They also advised that if customers/stakeholders are in any doubt, then please contact the department to make enquiries.

Daphne
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More info via stakeholder forum on fixed term awards ending before new claim has been assessed -

During the early stages of the pandemic last year we paused all non-essential review activity and extended people’s awards to ensure that they remained in payment during this period. All review activity in PIP has since re-started and for the vast majority of cases we are able to assess entitlement before their current award ends.

As you would expect, we always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible. We are aware, however, of a small minority of cases – those with short, fixed-term awards – where it has not been possible to reach a decision on an advance new claim ahead of the original claim ending. This is due to the ongoing and rapidly fluctuating Covid situation and the impact on our assessment capacity. We are taking urgent action to process these claims as soon as possible to ensure any gaps in payment are minimized. Where a person is found to still be eligible, any PIP award will be backdated so that they will not lose out financially.

 

Mike Hughes
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That is abject nonsense. We have examples of this impacting long term awards repeatedly.

Daphne
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Happy to send any examples you have up via stakeholders Mike if any help… you can always DM me NInos

Mike Hughes
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Noted Daphne. I shall go ask on Teams now.