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What are the chances that assessments for ESA and PIP will be postponed due to Coronavirus?

GalarboyGalarboy Member Posts: 7 Listener
edited March 2020 in PIP, DLA and AA
Seeing as the vulnerable will soon be kept in lockdown will the DWP just postpone all assessments for the foreseeable future?
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Replies

  • pollyanna1052pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 2,031 Disability Gamechanger
    it will also mean there are less assessors to do home visits and see claimants in their offices......current claims WILL have to be continued and dates should be extended...but what do I know? x
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    At the moment for the work capability assessment the forms are still being sent out. I received one just 2 days ago.
    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,324 Disability Gamechanger
    Just a thought, maybe we will have more paper based assessments requiring more prove sent in by us. Assuming there will be staff at DWP and the assessment company's to do the necessary paperwork. 
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,336 Disability Gamechanger
    I wonder how long the virus can survive on paper inside envelopes.  Maybe they'll move it to online instead!  Can't catch viruses online...well, not that type anyway! :D
  • johnnyy85johnnyy85 Member Posts: 28 Listener
    surely the assessors will have to work from home and it will all be paper based for the foreseeable future and an end to the f2f 🤞
  • johnnyy85johnnyy85 Member Posts: 28 Listener
  • skullcapskullcap Posts: 172 Member
    So for someone that has not completed the AR1 or PIP2 correctly and fully should get a paper based assessment? How would that work?
    They need to be examined for the DWP to get to understand what their problems are and how they are affected by them.
  • johnnyy85johnnyy85 Member Posts: 28 Listener
    Could they not do it with the evidence people have sent in ? 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    skullcap said:
    So for someone that has not completed the AR1 or PIP2 correctly and fully should get a paper based assessment? How would that work?


    Not sure how you came to that conclusion.
    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,247 Disability Gamechanger
    Frankly, this is all idle speculation and like all such it’s unhelpful and likely anxiety inducing. What we do know is that:

    - forms are still being sent out.
    - there is a considerable gap between the return of a form and any face to face assessment or medical.
    - assessment centres are currently still open.
    - as case law has recently shown, such assessments are not compulsory because of a flaw in the wording of the invites, then no-one can be penalised for non-attendance.
    - there may be a small increase in the number of people deemed appropriate for paper assessments but there’s unlikely to be the scope for HCPs to complete those from home so the most likely outcome would be a temporary stay on existing awards until such time as the appropriate assessment (paper or face to face) can take place. 
    skullcap said:
    So for someone that has not completed the AR1 or PIP2 correctly and fully should get a paper based assessment? How would that work?
    They need to be examined for the DWP to get to understand what their problems are and how they are affected by them.
    There is no such thing as “correctly” in this context. That’s a word you would only use in connection with means-tested benefit claims.
    johnnyy85 said:
    Could they not do it with the evidence people have sent in ? 
    Where they can they no doubt will but that’s unlikely to change much from the current arrangements. johnnyy85 said:
    surely the assessors will have to work from home and it will all be paper based for the foreseeable future and an end to the f2f 🤞
    Depends on the IT, the IT security (the risks to YOUR data) and the number of staff who remain working. All these things will vary from area to area and any solution needs  to be nationwide.

    pollyanna1052 said:
    it will also mean there are less assessors to do home visits and see claimants in their offices......current claims WILL have to be continued and dates should be extended...but what do I know? x
    I think that’s a pretty reasonable best guess. Those thinking that a shortcut will be put in place meaning they’re given a new decision far easier than their last assessment could be very disappointed. 
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 525 Pioneering
    I'm due a home vist on Thursday this will be my 3rd as the last two were no shows I started my claim at the end of July. Really hope its not postpone again and can get it over with. 
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 966 Disability Gamechanger
    Here's something from the BBC website ......T

    The Department for Work and Pensions has also announced that, from Tuesday, face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability welfare payments will be suspended for three months in an effort to protect vulnerable claimants.

    The suspension will apply to claimants of personal independence payments, employment and support allowance, some on Universal Credit and people on industrial injuries schemes. Those with appointments will be contacted to discuss alternative arrangements.

  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 966 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 2020
    ...and this is from the DWP...Nothing about those making a new claim unfortunately ..

    For people already claiming support

    Special arrangements will be in place for people in receipt of benefits who cannot attend reassessments or jobcentre appointments because they are required to stay at home or are infected by coronavirus.

    The arrangements are:

    • disabled and sick claimants who cannot attend a reassessment for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit will continue to receive their payments while their assessment is rearranged
    • people who need to claim ESA or Universal Credit because of coronavirus will not be required to produce a fit note.
    • when claimants tell us in good time that they are staying at home or that they have been diagnosed with coronavirus, they will not be sanctioned – we will review their conditionality requirements in their claimant commitment, to ensure they are reasonable
    • claimants who are staying at home as a result of coronavirus will have their mandatory work search and work availability requirements removed to account for a period of sickness
  • skullcapskullcap Posts: 172 Member
    It would be most amusing as to how you could get a face to face assessment either at home or at a centre if the home and it's inhabitants are in lockdown especially for those over 70 who have additional issues . Four months of house arrest has been mentioned which may well be extended further. 
  • laurapeachlaurapeach Member Posts: 102 Pioneering
    I'm guessing new claims won't be assessed at all until after the 3 months is up? Which means I'll be waiting even longer along with anyone else who applied in the last couple of months!
    Mum of one, I have M.E/CFS, POTS, Central Sensitization Syndrome and Joint Hypermobility Syndrome.
  • ShaunHShaunH Member Posts: 28 Connected
    What about tribunal appeals? Will they still be going ahead as stated in my other posts I still awaiting my bundle and date but would they cancel them? If so what would happen instead? 

    If your sat 2 or 3 meters away I think it should be fine.
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 966 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 2020
    @ShaunH - I don't know whether tribunals will continue to sit  but I think that it's reasonable to assume that all of the PIP process - and other benefits - will be subject to delays.

    No-one is immune to coronavirus - it will infect more of the population and this will include judges & court staff, assessors for PIP, DWP staff, and all of the support and admin staff.

    As people self-isolate, and are sick, delays will be inevitable.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,968

    Scope community team

    We're aware of media articles stating that benefits assessments are cancelled. However, we've so far been unable to verify that the Department for Work and Pensions has officially announced this. Until such time that the DWP do make an announcement, please don't assume that any assessments or appointments have been cancelled.
    If you have an assessment soon, it's worth calling the assessment centre to double-check ahead of setting off. Please don't assume it's okay to just not go.
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 966 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 2020
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,968

    Scope community team

    Hi @cristobal. The previous guidance published by them covered if you need to cancel or rearrange if you're directly affected by Covid-19, but there wasn't published updates regarding the cancelling of all assessments. 

    However just as I posted, the DWP have updated! 
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,968

    Scope community team

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/face-to-face-health-assessments-for-benefits-suspended-amid-coronavirus-outbreak

    Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits will be suspended for the next 3 months, the government announced today.

    The temporary move, effective on Tuesday 17 March 2020, is being taken as a precautionary measure to protect vulnerable people from unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus as the country’s response ramps up in the ‘delay’ phase. We will ensure those who are entitled to a benefit continue to receive support, and that new claimants are able to access the safety net.

    It affects 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 Thérèse 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 from Tuesday 17 March onwards 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. We expect this measure will be in effect for the next 3 months but we will 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.

    Suspending face-to-face health assessments is a precautionary measure which reflects the Prime Minister’s decision to trigger the ‘delay’ phase. It is important to note that this change does not affect or change any existing public health advice.


    Senior Community Partner
    Scope
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,336 Disability Gamechanger
    I've literally just had a date come through for PIP tribunal, mid April...  I take it tribunals aren't being suspended unless the system just hasn't been updated? :s
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Member Posts: 525 Pioneering
    Well it seems capita does not have the message yet as just asurred me on the phone my f2f will be going ahead on Thursday as planned. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    I've literally just had a date come through for PIP tribunal, mid April...  I take it tribunals aren't being suspended unless the system just hasn't been updated? :s

    I haven't hear anything about Tribunals but do be aware that it could apply to those at some point in the near future.
    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,247 Disability Gamechanger
    Today’s announcement looks good on paper but will of course leave an awful lot of people in poverty and debt stuck on the assessment rates. 

    As regards tribunals the situation is as follows:

    1 - tribunals have been told to keep 2m between them and appellants. Not really practical and kind of ignores being sat next to a member less than 2m away!

    2 - certainly across the North West today lists were collapsing as appellants self-isolated and were unable to attend. Matter of days before that spreads to reps, panel members and building management. They’re listing furiously at present but out in the real world not a lot is going to go ahead. 

    3 - theoretically an opportunity for DWP to step in and make offers but there may not be enough of them working to do so and they’ve no incentive to do so if non-payment is the decision being appealed. 
  • bekindalwaysbekindalways Posts: 154 Member

    Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits will be suspended for the next 3 months, the government announced today (16 March 2020).

    The temporary move, effective on Tuesday 17 March 2020, is being taken as a precautionary measure to protect vulnerable people from unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus as the country’s response ramps up in the ‘delay’ phase. We will ensure those who are entitled to a benefit continue to receive support, and that new claimants are able to access the safety net.

    It affects claimants of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), those on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) 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 Thérèse 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 from Tuesday 17 March onwards 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. We expect this measure will be in effect for the next 3 months but we will 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.

    DWP continues 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.

    Suspending face-to-face health assessments is a precautionary measure which reflects the Prime Minister’s decision to trigger the ‘delay’ phase. It is important to note that this change does not affect or change any existing public health advice.

    Read the current NHS guidelines on coronavirus, including advice on those who should stay at home.

    More Information

    The department will continue to work with its providers through this period and pay them in accordance with its contracts.

  • bishop1967bishop1967 Member Posts: 18 Listener
    Hopefully everyone who is in need of pip just gets it and they relax the strict assessment 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,247 Disability Gamechanger
    Anyone wanting up to date information on any aspect of this should check out https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/covid19
  • skullcapskullcap Posts: 172 Member
    Hopefully everyone who is in need of pip just gets it and they relax the strict assessment 
    is that 'in need of' PIP or 'want' PIP?

    Your suggestion will only result in more people being awarded the benefit that they may well not be entitled to.
    The general public expect strict conditions to apply where there are others asking for money.

    That was the problem with DLA. Your illness/disability was enough for you to qualify.
  • bekindalwaysbekindalways Posts: 154 Member
    To all, fill your form in as tou would be expected to do anyway.

    It has been said that IAS and others will try to do paper based and telephone appts rather than FTS.

    Please read the information on this.

    Best wishes to all. Xxx   
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,247 Disability Gamechanger
    skullcap said:
    Hopefully everyone who is in need of pip just gets it and they relax the strict assessment 

    That was the problem with DLA. Your illness/disability was enough for you to qualify.
    I’d love to see your evidence base for that assertion. It’s an oft repeated lie by DWP and ministers but refuting it is child’s play. 
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