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The changes to benefits being made as a result of coronavirus are piecemeal and rapidly changing. Please check back to this page regularly for the latest updates. 

There is also a Benefits and Work members Coronavirus forum where you can post queries or information.

We'll also be updating our guides over the coming days to take account of changes to the system.  Our Guide to PIP claims and reviews was updated on 24 March 2020

Unless stated otherwise these changes apply if you have been diagnosed with coronavirus or are self-isolating or caring for a child who has been diagnosed with coronavirus or is self-isolating.

The changes apply whether you are making a new claim or there is a review of your benefit.

There is important information and advice about coronavirus on the NHS website and information about the government's response to the coronavirus outbreak on the Gov UK website.

Updated guides

We have now updated those of our members guides that have been most affected by the recent changes.  

 All benefits reviews and reassessments suspended

There will be no reviews or reassessments of benefits for three months from Tuesday 24 March. The suspension covers all benefits and does not depend on you having been diagnosed with coronavirus or having to self-isolate., It includes:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Attendance Allowance (AA)
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB).

Where an assessment has already taken place for PIP, the decision making process will continue.

If an assessment has been scheduled, the assessment provider should contact you to explain whether a paper or telephone assessment will take place.

Where awards of benefits are due to expire, the DWP will be extending end-dates so that your award continues at its current rate.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

There will be no face-to-face assessments for the next 3 months from March 17th 20/20, until June 17th 2020.The assessment provider that is due to carry out the assessment should contact you to tell you what will happen next. The assessment will either be a paper based one, or carried out over the phone.

If you are making a fresh claim no award will be made without an assessment.

From March 24th 2020 for 3 months, until June 24th 2020 no reviews will be carried out.  So if you condition deteriorates and you think you are entitled to a higher rate of PIP it is very important that you request a review anyway to ensure you receive the maximum arrears when the situation returns to normal.

If your PIP is due to expire you will continue to be paid at your current rate.

 

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

When you claim you will be entitled from the first day of sickness i.e. there are no waiting days.

From March 17th 2020 for 3 months there will be no face-to-face assessments, until June 17th 2020 The assessment provider that is due to carry out the assessment should contact you to tell you what will happen next. The assessment will either be a paper based one, or carried out over the phone.

From March 24th 2020 for 3 months until June 24th 2020 no reviews will be carried out for ESA. So if your condition deteriorates and you in the Work Related Activity Group and think you should be in the Support Group it is very important that you request a review to ensure you receive the maximum arrears when the situation returns to normal.

When you claim you will be treated as having Limited Capability for Work (LCW), you will not have to submit fit notes or undergo a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

 

Universal Credit (UC)

If you are claiming on the grounds of sickness there will be no face-to-face assessments, for a period of 3 months until June 17th 2020.The assessment provider that is due to carry out the assessment should contact you to tell you what will happen next. The assessment will either be a paper based one, or carried out over the phone.

From March 24th 2020 reviews have been suspended for a period of 3 months until June 24th 2020, in line with the changes to ESA outlined above. The Minimum Income Floor will be suspended. This is a measure that only applies to some self-employed UC claimants.

You will not be required to attend the Jobcentre for any appointments, and in particular you will not be required to attend to begin your claim.

When you claim you will be treated as having LCW, you will not have to submit fit notes or undergo a WCA.

 

Attendance Allowance (AA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Face-to-face assessments have been suspended for a period of 3 months from March 24th 2020, until June 24th 2020.

 

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Some employees are entitled to this from their employer. Normally you cannot be paid for the first 4 days of sickness, known as ‘waiting days’. There will no longer be any waiting days.

You will be deemed to be incapable of work.

 

 FAQs

Below are some of the queries we have received on the forum or by email.  We have done our best to answer them, but bear in mind the situation is changing rapidly and it is worth checking this page regularly

Q. I have a face-to-face assessment appointment do I need to attend?
A. From March 17th 2020 all face-to- face appointments in relation to sickness and disability benefits have been suspended. This will apply for at least the next 3 months, until June 17th 2020, and covers appointments for Personal Independence Payment, Employment and Support Allowance and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Universal Credit.

It also covers verification appointments for Universal Credit if you are claiming on the grounds of sickness.

Q. I'm waiting on an appointment,will I get one?
A. The suspension of face-to-face assessments does not mean that your claim will not progress. It has never been the case in law that you are required to have a face-to-face assessment in relation to your claim.The health care provider who is responsible for carrying out assessments in your area should contact you to arrange either a paper assessment, or one over the phone.

Q. Several people have been told by the assessment providers when they phone them that there is no intention to do phone assessments?
A. This is incorrect. The statements from the Department for Work and Pensions make it absolutely clear that carrying out phone assessments is one possibility.

Q My PIP award ends in x months what happens then?
A. The beginning of the process of claiming again has not changed. You will be written to and invited to make a new claim. You should do this, and complete the claim form ‘How Your Disability Affects You’. The health care provider will then carry out either a paper assessment or a phone one.  It is very important that you keep to the time limits for claiming and returning the form.
Payment of your current award will continue until a new decision is made on your claim.

Q. I requested a review of my PIP in December 2019 before the process changed, and haven't heard anything. What will happen?
A. Your review will proceed as normal until PIP reach a stage of deciding whether to carry out an assessment. This cannot now be a face-to-face assessment, as there are no face-to-face assessments until at least June 17th 2020 and will either be done on the papers or a phone assessment.
Incidentally given the passage of time since you requested a review, you should chase up PIP.

Q. What do I need to provide for a paper assessment?
A. It is vitally important that you provide as much information as possible, as you will not have the opportunity to attend a face-to-face assessment. Examples of information you should think about including would be medical reports, care plans, statements from family and friends who know about your disability and how it affects you. Also details of changes in medication and treatment if this shows that your condition has worsened, or you have not responded positively to your previous medication or treatment.

Q. My condition has deteriorated and I think I am entitled to a higher rate of PIP. What should I do?
A. A review will not be carried out for at least 3 months starting on March 24th 2020. You should request a review now so that you are entitled to the maximum of arrears in due course when the situation returns to normal.

Q. Can I be found Fit for Work (fail the Work Capability Assessment,) without having attended a face to face assessment?
A. Yes, the decision as to whether you are Fit for Work will be based on a paper or phone assessment. There is no requirement in law that says that the health care provider must carry out a face-to-face assessment.

Q. Will it take longer to assess claims if there are no face-to-face assessments?
A. No one knows what the impact will be. In theory if a significant number of paper assessments are carried out it could make the process quicker.

Q. What happens to DLA awards if the procedure has not been carried out and my award is due to expire?
A. If you are migrating from DLA to PIP your DLA will carry on at its existing rate until a decision is made on your PIP claim.

If your DLA is due to expire and you have reclaimed DLA, in effect you are a child under 16 (18 in Scotland), then your DLA award will also continue to be paid at its existing rate.

Q. How long will these procedures last?
A. At present for at least 3 months from March 17th 2020, until June 17th 2020.

Q. What about appeals?
A. From March 20th 2020 for a period of at least 6 months all appeals will be dealt with initially on the papers if it is highly likely that the appeal will be decided in your favour. A provisional decision will be issued and if you and the DWP agree with it that will become the final decision. Otherwise a full hearing will take place which will be conducted either by phone or by video-link.

Q. I have an assessment for my child’s DLA. Will this go ahead?
A. There will be no fact-to-face assessments. The assssment provider will be in touch with you to arrange paper assessment or a telephone assessment.

Q. I want to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Do I have to send in a sick note?
A. If you have been diagnosed with coronavirus or are self-isolating, or are caring for a child who has been diagnosed or is self-isolating, you do not have to send in a sick note. You will be deemed to have Limited Capacity for Work, and will be paid ESA if you satisfy the other conditions for it.

Q. Are there any waiting days for ESA?
A. No, not if have been diagnosed with coronavirus or are self-isolating. You will be paid from the first day of your sickness.

Q. Are there are any waiting days for Statutory Sick Pay?
A. No, not if you have been diagnosed with coronavirus or are self-isolating.

 Q. I am claiming ESA and are in the Work-Related Activity Group. I think I should be in the Support Group. What do I do?
A. A review will not be carried out for at least 3 months from March 24th 2020, until June 24th 2020, but you should not delay requesting a review. This is so that you receive the maximum amount of arrears when the situation returns to normal.

Q. I have been receiving Contributory ESA (CESA) for 10 months, and so it is due to end in 2 months’ time. What will happen?
A. It is not clear. If it ends, you should request a Mandatory Reconsideration arguing that a review can’t be carried out until June 24th 2020 at the earliest. You should also request a separate review arguing that you should be in the Support Group, and then your CESA is not limited to 12 months.

 

Do you want us to run training in your location?

Would you like us to put on an open training day near you?

Fill in the form to below to let us know. It doesn’t commit you to anything at all. But if we get enough people asking for training in your region then we will aim to put on a training day there and we’ll let you know about it. We’ll also tell you about any other training opportunities that might interest you.

 

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Jobcentre Plus Managers Update was replaced in autumn 2009 by the Weekly Brief.
 
Delivery of Performance
New jobsearch support for newly unemployed
Employer subsidy
Recruitment agency standards
Free Childcare for Training and Learning into work
Improving Disability Employment and Adviser Services
Changes to Income Support for lone parents
Withdrawal of Child Benefit Online
Psychological therapies
Updates to the way people report changes of circumstances
Delivery of Performance
Response to the economic downturn
CSA staff join Jobcentre Plus
The Periodicity and Payday project
Changes to Income Support for lone parents
Housing Benefit Information Flows Programme
Dealing with the Compensation Recovery Unit
Targets – current performance
Information security campaign internal communication campaign – ‘I will do my bit’
Lean Development Centres
National Benefit Fraud Hotline
Prince’s Trust programmes and benefits payments reminder
Staff attendance
Targets – Current performance
Child Maintenance Redesign
Working with mentally ill customers event
Changes to Income Support for lone parents
Recruitment agency partnerships
 
November 2008 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The November edition includes information on:
Identity cards for foreign nationals
Lone Parent Obligations changes

October 2008 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The October edition includes information on:
Child Maintenance redesign
National Minimum Wage increases
In and Out of Work
Community Care Grants
New rules for volunteers
New scheme for diffuse mesothelioma sufferers
ESA launches
Lone Parent Obligations changes
Atos Healthcare problems

September 2008 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The September edition includes information on:
Security - memory sticks
ESA
Lone Parent Obligations
Gainers’ Exercise
Cold Weather Payments
Energy Efficiency Employment Initiative
Community Care Grants
In and Out of Work Pilots
Better Off In Work Credit Pilot
New Identity Cards for foreign nationals

August 2008 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The August edition includes information on:
New drive to encourage customers paid by cheque to change to direct payment.
ESA
Helping customers with specific communication barriers
Lone Parent Obligations

July 2008 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The July edition includes information on:
Welfare reform green paper
ESA
Carers strategy
On the fiddle

June 2008 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The June edition includes information on:
JSA rapid reclaim
Local Employment Partnerships
Integrated Employment and Skills: mandatory training for JSA claimants
Child poverty and lone parents
On the fiddle

May 2008 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The May edition includes information on:
DLA: closure of Edinburgh DBC

April 2008 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The April edition includes information on:
Child poverty
New Deal for young people
Home visit spot checks on IB claimants

March 2008 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The March edition includes information on:
ESA
Child maintenance redesign
Child poverty services and WFIs
Help for 16/17 year olds

February 2008 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The February edition includes information on:
Employ ability – a national campaign to encourage employers to view people with disabilities more positively.
Gangmasters
Jobseeker’s Regime and flexible New Deal Project
ESA

January 2008 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The January edition includes information on:
New services for lone parents
Employment and support allowance
Voice risk analysis (lie detectors)
Moving HMRC enquiry centres into Jobcentres
December 2007 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The December edition includes information on:
Referring Jobcentre Plus staff to atos Healthcare after 8 days off sick in a year
Provider led Pathways to work
Employment and support allowance
Centralisation of switchboard services for Jobcentres
November 2007 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The November edition includes information on:
Pathways to work
Pre budget report
October 2007 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The October edition includes information on:
Debt management
Local employment partnerships
Starting work is not a reportable change of circumstances for DLA
September 2007 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The September edition includes information on:
Massive rise in crisis loan applications
Young person’s bridging allowance
Habitual residence test
August 2007 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The August edition includes information on:
Joint claims extension
Employability skills programme
Father Christmas vacancies
July 2007 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The July edition includes information on:
Local employment partnerships
Now lets talk money campaign
June 2007 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The June edition includes information on:
£18 to call Jobcentre Plus
Six point plan to improve handling of crisi loan applications
May 2007 Jobcentre Plus Managers Update
The May edition includes information on:
Pathways to work
New Deal 25 plus
April 2007 JobCentre Plus Managers Update
The April edition includes:
5 more Benefits Delivery Centres go live, bring the total to 41 out of a planned 77.
Provider led Pathways to go live on 3 December 2007. Invitation to tender has been re-issued. Successful bidders to be informed 2 July, contracts to be awarded 3 September.
March 2007 JobCentre Plus Managers Update
The March edition includes:
Failure to meet Job Outcome Targets and Employer Outcome Targets.
National social care campaign to encourage more people to take jobs in this area.
Ministers keen to promote housing benefit and council tax benefit as in-work benefits.
February 2007 JobCentre Plus Managers Update
The February edition includes:
3 more Benefit processing centres go live
Security notes: mobile phones and voicemails vulnerable to interception.
Jobcentre Plus diversity challenge
Phase 1 of Provider led Pathways roll out put back to end of 2007 because of need to deal with expected increase in volumes of referrals when Employment Support Allowance is introduced in 2008.
New internet based telephone service starts to be rolled-out.
JC+ and Randstad Inhouse Services to work closely to help fill lower end of the skills spectrum jobs in companies such as Argos, Boots, Cadburys, Samsung and Walkers.
January 2007 JobCentre Plus Managers Update
The January edition includes:
Rollout of new 0800 numbers
Contact centre improved performance
DWP error reduction strategy: 'Something to declare' campaign.
Suspension of planned migration of income support and income-based JSA claimants with children onto child tax credit.
Jobcentre Plus Pathways to work roll-out completed.
December 2006 JobCentre Plus Managers Update
The December edition includes:
More Benefit Delivery Centres go live.
Jobcentre Plus led Pathways rolled out in 5 more areas.
November 2006 JobCentre Plus Managers Update
The November edition includes:
Jobcentre Plus led Pathways rolled out in 3 more areas.
Condition Management Programme presentations held for prospective Provider led Pathways.
October 2006 JobCentre Plus Managers Update
This month's edition has information about:
Expenses for volunteers: changes to the policy relating to volunteer lunches.
A new intranet site highlighting services available from the Voluntary and Community sector. The site aims to encourage partnership working between JC+ and local voluntary and community groups.
Mandatory training for JC+ staff in diversity and equality.
September 2006 Jobcentre Plus Managers' Update
The September edition includes:
A reminder to managers that they should make their teams aware that they cannot refuse clerical [paper] claims and that customers remain free to decide how they wish to make a claim. If your agency is having trouble with a local office saying that all claims should be made by phone, fax them a copy of page 3 of the update and ask them to explain why the manager's not doing their job.
An admission that the 'JobCentre plus change portfolio has been too big to manage' for some time. The update sets out which projects are to be concentrated on in the future.
Information on the 'Trailblazer' project for improving JC+ services, including fortnightly jobsearch reviews.
Information on the Jobs Warehouse which allows approved recruitment agencies and large employers to bulk upload jobs directly to the JC+ database.
News of the transfer of work from Newcastle Disability Benefits Centre. The bad news for people living in the Northumberland and Tyne and Wear area (postcodes NE, SR and TD) is that their claims will now be assessed by Bootle. This means that in future they will be subject to the computerised DLA assessment system being piloted there. (
August 2006 Jobcentre Plus Managers' Update
The August edition includes:
Information on 7 'quick wins' being introduced to improve service to customers, including the national introduction of JSA, IS and IB rapid reclaim.
The announcement of the introduction of an Adult Learning Option providing opportunities for claimants with low skills levels to study for a qualification whilst receiving financial support and retaining underlying benefits entitlement. The scheme is restricted to certain named areas of the country.
News of Peterborough, Sheffield and Makerfield Benefits Delivery Centres going live.
Information on monitoring of the JSA interventions regime
Information on tackling official error including earlier alerts for the expiry of medical certificates and a mandatory review of severe disability premium entitlement on a change of address notification.
Warning of delay to the introduction of a new computerised Business Control System due to the large number of system errors, which EDS has said it will fix at no cost to the DWP.
July 2006 Jobcentre Plus Managers' Update
The July edition includes:

A reminder to manager that they should tell staff that 'Work is not a reportable relevant change of circumstances for DLA . . . '. This is somewhat undermined by the further information that 'A DLA customer starting or returning to work may indicate a change to the customers care or mobility needs'.
News that all DWP staff are to get new computers, new flat screen monitors and new phones. Within 18 months all DWP communications will be via Voice over IP - i.e. internet phones. So you can look forward to a plummeting in the quality of telephone calls. Some staff will also be able to use a 'follow me' system for calls, meaning that they will be able to fail to answer calls not just from their own phone but from other people's phones too.
News of a new telephone interpreting system and a reminder that customers should never be told to obtain an interpreter or to bring one with them unless they wish to: JC+ should provide all necessary interpreting services.

 

 

Thank you to all

 

“at last my very long journey( nearly 2 years) through the pip process came to an end with a victory… standard rate for 3 years, was in shock when reading it now back down to earth” 

 

 

 

 APPEALS

PIP mandatory reconsideration and JSA sanction success
“First want to say thank you to you all. I could not and indeed would not have done it without your factual, helpful and prompt replies. I did chase my MP and received a reply from them almost by return with an apology from DWP…Today I got a large back pay and standard rate care award and enhanced level mobility unchanged.

   PIP reconsideration success
“After reading my support letter as well as my report they have decided to award me the extra 2 points giving me a total of 12 for the Enhanced care on daily living component. It is with only reading this great web site, that give great advice that I decided to pursue this further. Once again thanks for all your valuable support and advice.”

DLA TO PIP

 

DLA to PIP success
“…pleased and relieved that they recognised my needs…Thank you so much for producing the guides, they are so helpful and made me feel supported, even though I was still very stressed throughout the whole process.”

 

 

AWARDS

PIP success
“Hello, I had the letter a few days ago…I'm happy that I have good news. I got awarded the standard rate of daily living, no mobility. From March 2014 till Feb 2017. That's a result I never expected to receive. It should help me with my health a lot…I used the guide from Benefits and Work, and had magnificant help from other people. I'm very grateful to everyone here. Thank you.”

PIP result
“Partner had a result for PIP without a face-face...Standard Daily (Living)…Again the guides etc on here had a massive part in this result.. Thanks”

PIP decision – success!
“I would just like to thank you and your site for helping me through my pip claim! I have been awarded enhanced rate care and enhanced rate mobility I feel so relieved I could cry! Many thanks for all your help!”

PIP awarded
“I have received a decision from DWP and have been awarded Higher Rate [Daily Living] and Lower Rate [Mobility]. Thank you to all at B&W for the quality and accuracy of all your advice and information.”

PIP success
“The dreaded brown envelope dropped on the mat this morning. I have been awarded enhanced rate for care and standard rate for mobility…Thank you so much for your excellent guides and patient support...”

PIP enhanced rates awarded
“Many thanks for your excellent web site and help I've received...Received a decision yesterday and it was for the enhanced rate for both components. I can't thank you enough for the help and support.”

PIP enhanced daily living and mobility
“I also wanted to thank you for this website as it helped me be aware on the assessment and also helped me with ESA support group Tribunal last year. I have just received notification that I have been awarded enhanced PIP for living and mobility. I know I wouldn't have got this result without your guides so would like to thank you very much for providing this website. Now I can get a blue badge, create parking in my garden and hopefully leave my house more than 6 times a year! I will also be able to get someone to go shopping with me (only been shopping once this year) so the difference this will make is amazing. Thank you so much.”

 PIP enhanced mobility and daily living
“Letter arrived Saturday, awarded mobility and daily living at enhanced rates. Would like to thank all those involved with this site for their knowledge and help.”

PIP enhanced care and mobility
“A few days ago the brown envelope dropped through the letterbox, and I am very relieved and pleased to report that my husband has been awarded enhanced care and mobility for 3 years.
I cannot explain how we both felt in fact we were quite dazed. I cannot believe it is all over for at least 3 years…The site is worth every penny of your membership fee, and I , as before will keep up my membership, even though, we have been successful this time, I may need their help along the way again…I am so grateful to you all for your wonderful informative site and cannot thank you enough for your help.”

 PIP Success
“I have been awarded Standard care and standard mobility for 3 years, to be reassessed in November 2016! I'm so chuffed and relieved. I can finally sleep at night and feel like a massive weight has been lifted! Thank you to this forum and it's members for the help and support.” 

PIP success
“Huge, huge thank you…Well ive been crying with relief for an hour now, Thank you so much for your brilliant website and knowledge, I had my PIP decision today…low rate care and High rate Mobility. I can't thank you enough. Wonderful, just wonderful”

 PIP been awarded at last!
“…got my letter on Saturday from the DWP…I have been given enhanced daily living component…my husband and I would like to thank you for your excellent guides that helped us at the medical and gain the money. The best subs I have ever spent Thank from the bottom of my heart.”

 

Finally - PIP awarded
“I have received the brown envelope today and finally contains good news, I have been awarded the daily living component, and the mobility component of personal independence payment .I am soo happyyy Thank you sooo much BW for all your support and help and good luck to everyone.”

PIP Success
“… i have just come of the phone to the dwp decision maker who rang me …to inform me i had been awarded enhanced pip and mobility and i would receive backpay to the date i originally applied and he also apologised for the long wait…thanks to B & W for all the guides and help”

 

 

 

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