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Disability Benefits (COVID 19)

Information on disability benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

These benefits are for people with a long term illnesses and/or disabilities. To qualify you must have had or expect to have the condition for a past and/or future period, also known as a 'qualifying' period. The length of this period varies depending on the disability benefit. Which disability benefit you can claim will depend on your age (Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance) and whether your became sick or disabled following an incident at work (Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit). They can be claimed if you are in work and/ or in receipt of other benefits.

Personal Independence Payment: You can claim if you are from 16 to 66. You need to have had care or mobility needs for the previous 3 months and expect to have these needs for the next 9 months.

Disability Living Allowance: New claims can only be made for children under 16. The child needs to have had extra care or mobility needs for the previous 3 months and expect to have these needs for the next 6 months.

Attendance Allowance: You can claim if you are 66 or over, but get advice first if you are already in receipt of Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance. You need to have had care needs for the previous 6 months.

 

New claims

New claims for these benefits can continue to be made.  

New claims for child Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance are continuing as normal.

For Personal Independence Payment the DWP have confirmed that new claims will continue to be processed and the deadline to return the PIP2 form (where you explain how your disability affects you) has now returned to 28 days (it had previously been extended to three months due to coronavirus). 

Prior to Coronavirus, most new claims for Personal Independence Payment required a face-to-face assessment, provided by Capita. Currently all face-to-face assessments are still been suspended. The DWP have confirmed that, where possible, a paper-based assessment will be made (using the information on your PIP2 form and any further evidence submitted). If further information is required, a health professional from Capita will arrange an appointment to conduct a telephone assessment.  

The DWP is reintroducing not attending a PIP assessment as grounds to decide that a claimant is not eligible for PIP if they fail to attend a pre-arranged assessment without a good reason. This is the same as in pre-covid days when failing to attend or participate in a face to face assessment and will now apply to not 'attending' a scheduled telephone assessment.

The DWP has announced that from the week commencing 14 December 2020, PIP telephone assessment appointment letters should state that if they fail to attend without a good reason any existing claim could be stopped and new claims refused.

The DWP have stated that: 'No one will have their support stopped without being contacted first. People will be contacted to ask them to explain why they did not, or could not attend or participate in the assessment and where good cause is provided and accepted, support will continue.'

The government have confirmed that your family, partner or a friend can be involved in a telephone assessment, therefore, if possible have someone you trust, who knows how your health or disability affects you, with you for support and ask the health professional to talk to them instead if you struggle on the phone or have difficulty explaining your problems. Prepare for the phone call by getting any details you want to refer to ready, such as your prescription, copy of your PIP2, upcoming appointments or referrals, or just notes to remind you of what you want to say about your difficulties with the activities.  

Our advice for all disability benefit claims is to provide any supportive evidence you have along with your claim form, but to check if this evidence actually supports the needs you have described in your claim form and get advice if you are unsure.

Follow these links for details of how to make a new claim:

www.gov.uk/pip/how-to-claim
https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance/how-to-claim
https://www.gov.uk/disability-living-allowance-children/how-to-claim

Existing claims

Anyone already receiving these benefits will continue to receive their current payments as normal.

The suspension of reviews of existing claims has now ended, and if you are sent a review form and you should return this as soon as possible. This also applies to people in receipt of Child DLA who have reached 16 and been invited to claim Personal Independence Payment, please do not delay in responding to the invitation or the DLA claim with be suspended and then if you still do not reply the claim will end.

To make things more complicated, claims are being extended but review forms are being sent out. Always return the review form, as failure to do so can result in your claim ending. The extension will mean that you can continue to be paid until there is a decision on the review of your claim.

If your condition has deteriorated and you would like to have your award reassessed, you can still request this. Any reassessment will be undertaken by telephone and paper-based review.