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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that face-to-face assessments for disability benefits, including Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA), will continue to be suspended.

This continued suspension will help protect disabled people from unnecessary risk of coronavirus, says the DWP.

The decision to suspend face-to-face disability assessments came into effect on the 17th of March at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, new disability benefits claims would be carried out via telephone or paper-based assessments, where appropriate, to ensure disabled people could still access the support they need but without the risk of catching COVID-19.

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Now, the DWP has confirmed that this system will remain in place following the latest public health guidance, but will be kept under review. New claimants are encouraged to make a claim for PIP or DLA if they need support as all benefits remain open.

However, whilst face-to-face reassessments and reviews for those receiving PIP or DLA were suspended in March, the government has said that some review and reassessment activity will gradually resume from July 2020.

This decision comes as measures are taken across the country to ease restrictions as infection rates have fallen over the last few weeks, such as relaxing shielding measures.

The department says it will start its review and renewal activity with claims which were already underway when this activity was suspended. Some PIP and DLA claimants will now be asked to complete paperwork to resume their reviews, reassessments and renewals.

For PIP cases where paperwork has already been returned, claimants may be contacted by one of the department’s Assessment Providers.

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