3 month suspension of face to face social security assessments during COVID-19

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 19th March 2020

Assessments for PIP, ESA and Universal Credit will not be undertaken face to face as the UK aims to delay the spread of coronavirus.

The temporary move, effective on Tuesday 17 March 2020, is being taken as a precautionary measure to protect vulnerable people from unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus as the UK’s response ramps up in the ‘delay’ phase.

The Department for Work and Pensions will ensure people who are entitled to support continue to receive it, and that new claimants are able to access their entitlements.

Anyone who has a face-to-face assessment appointment scheduled from Tuesday 17 March onwards does not need to attend and will be contacted to discuss next steps and alternative arrangements, which could involve either telephone or paper-based assessments. The DWP expect this measure will be in effect for the next 3 months but we will be regularly reviewing the position in line with Public Health advice.

Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “As we move into the next phase of our response to coronavirus, it is right we take steps to protect those with health problems. Temporarily suspending face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits will allow us to ensure we continue to provide a safety net for those in need, while removing unnecessary risk of exposure to this disease.”

Please note this information is accurate at the date of publication of this ALLIANCE news item, 19 March 2020.

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