I have been advised that the DWP, out of concern for the health of both DWP staff and claimants, are from 17th March suspending all scheduled face-to-face assessments for health and disability related benefits with immediate effect for the next three months.
This includes Personal Independence Payments, the Industrial Injuries Scheme and Work Capability Assessments in both Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.
It is important that the health of individuals claiming these benefits, many of whom are likely to be at greater risk due to their pre-existing health conditions, is safeguarded.
The DWP will be making every effort to contact claimants to notify them that they no longer need to attend their appointments. Where the DWP are unable to contact claimants and a claimant arrives for their scheduled assessment, they will be offered a choice as to whether to continue with the face-to-face assessment or not.
The DWP will seek to assess claimants over the phone or on paper as opposed to having face-to-face assessment.
The DWP continue to accept new claims to all benefits and existing benefits. Benefits will remain in payment while these alternative arrangements are put in place.
Any decision made under the alternative arrangements will of course also come with Mandatory Reconsideration and Appeal rights as normal, should claimants wish to challenge any decision made.
If anyone has any specific concern about their claim or benefit then they should call the relevant benefit helpline number which can be found using the following link: https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits