Universal Credit: Big changes on the way as pandemic restrictions ease

Big changes are on the way for millions of people receiving Universal Credit, ESA benefits and PIP.

The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed it plans to start reintroducing face-to-face assessments for health and disability benefits in May, according to Lincolnshire Live.

Face-to-face appointments at Jobcentre plus offices also returned at the end of April, for customers who need to be seen by their work coach.

Priority is being given to “new customers and young people (aged 18 to 24) who are at risk of long term unemployment.”

The DWP said it has worked with assessment providers to ensure that centres are fully compliant with Covid-19 safety measures.

A DWP spokesman said: “People will be invited for their appointments by letter, which will clearly set out what to expect at their appointment.

“Face-to-face assessments will take place alongside existing paper-based assessments, and telephone assessments – for Work Capability Assessments and PIP – which will continue to take place where suitable.”

The assessments will include:Advice for claimants who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, Advice on who you can bring with you to the assessment centre, social distancing requirements, sanitisation and PPE and face coverings,

The DWP said: “Our approach and guidance will be kept under review to ensure the department’s approach remains aligned with the latest public health guidance.”

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