Following the Coronavirus outbreak, face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits have been suspended for the next three months.
It is a precautionary measure to protect the most vulnerable from unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus. It ensures those entitled to receive the benefit receive support, and new claimants are able to access a safety net.
It covers claimants of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and those on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), as well as some on Universal Credit, and recipients of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. It also covers new claims to these benefits.
Anyone who has a face-to-face assessment appointment scheduled from Tuesday 17th March onwards does not need to attend and will be contacted to discuss next steps and alternative arrangements, which could involve telephone or paper-based assessments. These measures will be in place for the next three months, but the position will be reviewed regularly. No further action is required by any claimant.
DWP will continue to accept new claims for all benefits. Anyone already receiving PIP, ESA, Universal Credit or Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, will continue to receive their current payments as normal while alternative arrangements are put in place to review or reassess their claim.
A letter from the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Justin Tomlinson MP, sets out the changes in more detail below.