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Following the announcement that all face-to-face disability assessments will be suspended, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has scrapped all reviews and reassessments for disability benefits for the next three months.

According to the Department, this decision has been taken to reassure vulnerable people about the continuity of their benefits during the coronavirus outbreak and to ensure resources are focused on enabling access to financial support for new claimants.

This decision applies to those receiving Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

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Work and Pensions Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey said: “As this country ramps up its efforts to support people through coronavirus, we will do whatever it takes to protect claimants and our staff.

“We are automatically extending all awards and reassessments for health and disability benefits to provide that reassurance to those in receipt of them.”

As well as face-to-face assessments being suspended for the next three months for disability benefits – including new claims – PIP claimants who have a scheduled assessment will be contacted by their assessment provider to discuss how this will be taken forward.

ESA and UC claimants whose cases have been referred to the provider will also be contacted to take this forward.

The DWP notes that this three-month suspension will be regularly reviewed and extended, if necessary. Where award dates are due to expire, the Government has also confirmed these end-dates will be extended so that claimants continue to receive financial support at their current rate during the pandemic.

If people experience a change in their needs, they are still encouraged to contact the Department to ensure they are receiving the correct level of support.

Additionally, the Department encourages people to use online services before turning to the telephone for help with their benefit claim.

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