DLA renewals for children - late issuing of renewal forms
Further to this thread:
regarding resumption of reviews/renewals for adults, we are noticing a number of DLA renewals for children with a very tight schedule on the turn around (eg forms issued in November when current claim ends in January).
I note for the adults’ awards due to end before 8/3/21 they were given automatic 12 months extension - have noticed nothing similar for child claims - have I missed anything beyond the initial extensions announced in this rightsnet story 23/4/20?
Really wanting to check if this is a local blip or if there are other examples across the country?
Obviously shorter timescales then usual, combined with delays in the post both on the way out (parent of two children with disabilities contacted us last week and was shocked when confirming date posted out as “had not had them that long”) and on way back in (Christmas!) let alone the pressure on advice services to assist in time is of concern.
Spoke with the Service Assurance manager for the DLA Child Service Centre yesterday afternoon
• On 6th July they notified their providers to restart issuing the renewal packs with effect from 13th July.
• They subsequently realised (seems around Sept/early Oct) there had been a “breakdown in communications” – none sent out.
• Existing arrangements due to pandemic measures were that awards due to end between August-November had already been extended by six months/reviews pushed back up to May 21 – and clerical notifications had been issued to affected parent/carers
• For the claims due to end in December – they clerically issued those forms – sent out in October.
• From 1/11/20 a bulk of 32,000 were being sent out across a three week period
• They have extended awards that were due to end between December and 4/3/21 as follows:
o Award due to end in Dec 20 – existing awards extended to 21/2
o Awards due to end in Jan 21 – extended to 14/3
o Award due to end in Feb 21 – extended to 21/3
o Award due to end between March 1-4th 21 – extended to 28/3
• These extension dates are called “backlog extensions” not covid extensions – and are NOT being notified to the parent/carer, as DWP obviously still keen to receive as many forms back as soon as possible.
• The “extension work” was done on Wednesday – i.e. new dates for those affected should have been updated on the system and if a parent/carer calls up the new date should now show so helpline can reassure that the award will not drop out of payment if form is not back in time and/or decision not yet made.
• DWP were still clarifying yesterday morning the wording of the message to go out on to telephony – they are expecting increase in calls and responding accordingly.
• By introducing this measure they are trying to ensure parent/carers will still have 18-20 weeks to return the form.