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DWP suspend face-to-face benefits assessments


By Alan Beresford


FACE-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits will be suspended for the next three months, the government has announced.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey MP.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey MP.

The temporary move is being taken as a precautionary measure to protect vulnerable people from unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus. The Department of Worl and Pensions (DWP) have stated that they will ensure those who are entitled to a benefit continue to receive support, and that new claimants are able to access the safety net.

Affected by this measure are claimants of Personal Independence Payment; those on Employment and Support Allowance and some on Universal Credit; and recipients of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

The suspension of face-to-face assessments also covers new claims to those benefits.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese 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.”

Anyone who has a face-to-face assessment appointment scheduled 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 this measure will be in effect for the next three months but itill be regularly reviewing the position in line with public health advice.

No further action is required by any claimant as a result of this change. They will be contacted with advice on next steps.

The current NHS guidelines on Coronavirus, including advice on those who should stay at home can be found by clicking here

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