Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 7th July 2020.

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Photo of Neil Coyle Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of retaining online and telephone assessments for benefit claimants as the covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Photo of Neil Coyle Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what role (a) claimants, (b) work coaches and (c) assessment providers have in determining whether benefit assessments are conducted (i) online, (ii) by telephone and (iii) face to face.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Assessments for health and disability benefits are not conducted online.

Paper based reviews have always been a feature of Personal Independence Payment assessments and Work Capability Assessments, and wherever possible Assessment Providers will conduct a paper-based review, if there is sufficient evidence available to make a recommendation. Telephone-based assessments for suitable cases across health and disability benefits were introduced from 17 March due to Covid-19. Whether an assessment is conducted on the paper-based evidence alone or via a telephone consultation is a decision made by assessment providers based on the available evidence and ability to assess to health condition via these channels.

Face-to-face assessments remain suspended but will be kept under review.

We remain fully committed to making continuous improvements to the support we provide to people with health conditions and disabilities, and are evaluating the changes temporarily introduced to inform the approach taken to conducting assessments in the future.

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