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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 State Pension Age. 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 over State Pension Age, 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. The DWP have confirmed that date for returning an Attendance Allowance claim form in time will be more flexible due to Coronavirus to ensure that people who are self-isolating are not disadvantaged. The advice is to mark on the form that there has been a delay in being able to return the form in time due to COVID-19.

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 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
www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance/how-to-claim
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. As from 24 March all reviews and reassessments have been suspended. Your benefit will continue in payment until such time when review and reassessments are reinstated. If your award is coming up for a review it should be automatically extended, we have not been provided with any details yet that this has officially ended, however people now appear to be receiving review forms. We will provide further updates as soon as possible.

This includes existing claimants of child Disability Living Allowance who have reached the age of 16 and would normally be invited to claim Personal Independence Payment after their 16th birthday. If you were in receipt of Disability Living Allowance and had been invited to claim Personal Independence Payment prior to lockdown, the DWP have confirmed that you do not have to take any action now, your current payments should continue and they will contact you in the future to explain what to do next - please be aware that the three month suspension has ended and you should now reply asap to any invitations to claim Personal Independence Payment.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-update-benefit-reviews-and-reassessments-suspended

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.

 

Health Professional Assessments

As stated above all face-to-face assessments have been suspended. Anyone who has a scheduled appointment for an assessment from 17 March 2020 onwards does not need to attend. Alternative arrangements will be made to carry out either paper-based assessments or assessments undertaken over the telephone. It is advised that as much supportive evidence is submitted at the point of claim/review.

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