News & Events
Benefits Update June
Just a few words to reassure anyone who is worried about their benefits situation. The main message is that the DWP currently has a lot more to worry about than PIP, DLA, Universal Credit on grounds of sickness and AA, so all benefit awards have been extended and all reviews have been suspended. The slight fly in the ointment is that the DWP has been unable to stop sending out computer-generated letters. So, if you get one with a deadline, ignore it for the time being. (More details below.)
- There will be no reviews or re-assessments for ESA or PIP until 17th June. For Universal Credit, on grounds of sickness, the reviews are suspended until 24th June.
- New claims for PIP and ESA will be processed and backdated to the application date BUT there will be no face-to-face assessments for the next six months.
- For Universal Credit on grounds of sickness there will be no face-to-face assessments until June 17th, 2020.
- If your benefits award was due to end, it will be extended.
- There will be no transfers from DLA to PIP until after 17th June. Any letters saying that you must claim PIP before this date can safely be ignored as can follow-up reminder letters.
- All time limits for returning forms have been extended
Flies in the ointment
- The DWP has not been able to stop letters with deadlines from being sent out.
- The DWP has said that face-to-face assessments will be replaced by paper or phone assessments. If you are notified that you will be assessed by telephone and would like to talk to a member of the benefits team before this happens please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for one of the benefits team to either call you or to invite you to a Zoom meeting. Be aware that we have heard that people have been receiving such calls at short notice, whereas under the PIP regulations the DWP must give you 7 days’ notice.
- Phone calls to the PIP and ESA helplines are taking even longer to answer than usual.
Problem areas (only affecting a few people)
- If you currently get Contributory ESA and are due for a review, you may have to apply for a Mandatory Review. If you are in this situation, please contact the benefits team by emailing email@example.com She will arrange a telephone or internet chat to talk you through it.
- If your condition has changed or for any other reason you think you are entitled to a higher rate, your claim may take longer to process than usual. However, you should still apply now because, even if it takes longer to come through, your higher rate will be backdated. Again, if you are in this situation, contact the benefits team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and she will arrange a telephone or internet chat to talk you through it.
If you have not previously claimed PIP or Universal Credit on grounds of disability but would like to, please contact email@example.com to arrange for a member of the benefits team either to call you or to invite you to a Zoom meeting. All areas have now transferred from Employment Support Allowance (ESA) to Universal Credit on grounds of disability. Please note that we have no experience of claiming Universal Credit for people who have lost work due to the lockdown.
We are still here for you
Although the benefits team are unable to come into the Centre, we have had successful meetings over the phone and via Zoom on the internet. If you are worried about anything to do with you benefits, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange for one of the benefits team to talk to you. We are all in self-isolation, so the chat will be by phone or internet.
If you want more details and the most up-to-date information, look at these links on the internet.
Note: things are constantly changing, and both these links are being updated regularly, so the information they contain is likely to be more accurate than our notes above.
Most of all
Don’t worry. Stay safe. Take care. And stay well!