DWP issues crucial PIP and DLA update for assessments

The coronavirus pandemic caused huge disruption to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which changed the way people claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Face to face health assessments were abandoned and temporarily replaced with telephone assessments and paper-based reviews.

The DWP also delayed routine re-assessments and reviews and extended awards until they could be done safely.

Some planned award reviews and some DLA reassessment started again in July but the DWP have issued an update about restarting face to face assessments.

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The DWP have decided to continue with the telephone based assessments and paper based reviews for now, but say they will review the process regularly in accordance with the Covid-19 measures.

The GOV.UK website said: "Covid-19 provisions were put in place in late March 2020 and the Department continues to review and amend working practices where appropriate moving forwards.”

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The pandemic has impacted greatly on the number of new claims for PIP and DLA with 45,000 registrations made between May and July – 8% lower than the same period last year – reports the Daily Record.

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However, there was a rise in the number of changes in circumstances, with 7,300 claimants registering changes with the DWP – 2% higher than the same period last year.

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If you’re considering applying for PIP (or DLA for those aged under 16), DWP has produced a new “customer journey” flow to help people understand the process and changes implemented as a result of Covid-19.

  • Claimant registers to claim PIP.

  • DWP issues “Part 2” form (referred to in the application process as the “How your disability affects you” form) for the claimant to complete.

  • Claimant completes and returns “Part 2” form – which automatically triggers a referral to the Assessment Provider.

  • Under Covid-19 provisions, the claimant may have their claim assessed based on telephony assessments, alongside paper-based reviews – under normal circumstances, claimant may be called for face-to-face assessment conducted by the Assessment Provider.

  • DWP makes a decision based on the Assessment Provider recommendation – the outcome may be an award (including monetary amount of the award for both Daily Living and Mobility components, the award type and, if appropriate, the period of time that should be allowed before a review of the award takes place) or a disallowance due to failing the assessment (although a claim can also be disallowed prior to the Assessment Provider referral based on the information in the “Part 2” form or if the claimant fails to attend the assessment).

  • Payment of the benefit begins.

  • When the claim is in payment, a claimant must report any changes of circumstances relating to the claim – failing to do so can result in payments being stopped.

  • Under Covid-19 provisions from late March 2020, award reviews were suspended and claims reaching the end of their review period had their claim extended automatically, to ensure awards stay in payment.

  • If the claimant disagrees with a decision on their claim, they can raise a Mandatory Reconsideration.

  • If the claimant still disagrees after the Mandatory Reconsideration has been completed, they can raise an appeal.

  • Appeals may be cleared at a tribunal hearing, with face-to-face hearings being replaced by telephone hearings and the use of other remote hearing technology under Covid-19 provisions, or cleared without a hearing.

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