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It’s taken the DWP long enough but at last we have some clarity on benefit claims and reassessments.

The message is: don’t come to the Job Centre – stay at home.

That’s in line with the overarching message in the face of the coronavirus epidemic.

So new claimants are asked to make their claims for Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit online or by telephone.

That presents issues in itself because many people are uncomfortable using computers to claim benefits, and telephone claims can involve long waits and are likely to entail unhelpful service.

There will be no new reviews or reassessments across all benefits for three months – this includes Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

Apparently there’s already been an announcement that all face-to-face assessments have been suspended, in order to safeguard potentially vulnerable claimants.

That will be news to a few claimants I know. Perhaps the government announced it behind a paywall in the Telegraph or The Times.

Assessments that are already ongoing will continue, with claimants contacted to discuss how they will go further.

That could be a problem, knowing how the DWP treats claimants.

Ultimately, the message is mixed – just as it is with all the government’s announcements relating to coronavirus.

There is still plenty of leeway for the “Department of Welfare Persecution” to live down to its nickname.

Source: Benefit assessments suspended for three months while new claimants told to stay away from Jobcentres – Welfare Weekly

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