Big changes to Benefits, including DLA
Are you affected by Corona Virus (COVID-19) ?
Hertfordshire County Council's Money Advice Unit (MAU) provides a library of fact sheets to help you understand your benefits and taxes.
The benefit system can seem complex at the best of times. At present, it’s probably more important than ever before to have the right information. The Council’s Money Advice Unit has produced a guide called “COVID -19: Benefits and Advice for People Affected by Coronavirus”, covering regularly updated information on social security, the Job Retention and Self-Employment Schemes and much else besides.
The MAU webpages also contains updated benefit guides for children with disabilities, young people, and foster carers and adopters. The Unit is still taking referrals e.g. for the Children with Disability project, but will be assisting by phone and email only for the time being.
In particular, the DWP have announced that all disability benefit reviews and reassessments have been temporarily suspended until at least the end of June. This temporary measure, affecting DLA, PIP and ESA claims, is being taken to reassure people about the continuity of their benefits during the coronavirus outbreak and to ensure the DWP’s resources are focused on enabling access to financial support for new claimants. It follows a previous announcement to suspend all face-to-face assessments of new claims, in order to safeguard potentially vulnerable claimants and DWP or disability assessment staff.
What this means in practice is that new claims for DLA, PIP and ESA can still be made, but will be decided mainly by what’s on the claim form, any supporting evidence and possibly a phone conversation with the claimant (if 16+) or their parent. Even appeals will be decided that way and not by a personal appearance. Young people approaching 16 will not be assessed for PIP until July at the earliest, and their existing DLA will carry-on.
Visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/benefits for all the MAU factsheets.