The Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP (pictured below), has today confirmed that disability benefit awards have been automatically extended by six months for claimants due to be reassessed within the next three months.
Giving evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee today, Mr Tomlinson said: “What we have done, for those that would be due for a reassessment in the next three months, we’ve automatically extended their benefit by six months.
“If their condition has deteriorated, and they feel they would be entitled to more money, they can still request a reassessment but otherwise they are automatically extended.”
He added: “For those new claimants, the terminally ill, and for those who ask for it, we are seeking to do it by telephone, by paper based reviews adopting a very sympathetic, claimant supportive view of this because we recognise that there are increasing challenges to be able to get adequate medical evidence so we are relying very much on the claimant’s case as they explain it.”
It means that sick and disabled people in receipt of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA), and whom are fearing that the dreaded brown envelope will drop through their letter box in the near future, should continue to receive payments for at least another six months.
New ‘National Shielding Service’
The news comes as the DWP and Post Office announced a new partnership that will allow peope who are ‘shielding’ during the Coronavirus outbreak to continue receiving benefit payments without leaving their home.
The National Shielding Service is a working partnership with DWP that enables contact to be made with specific customers to determine if they need to receive a cash payment to be delivered.
The new cash delivery option has initially been made available to those Post Office Card Account customers who are shielding at home and are the most at risk from the virus.
When notified by DWP of those individuals who require a cash delivery, the Post Office will ensure cash is sent to their home using Royal Mail Special Delivery and that it arrives by 9pm the following day.
This means that those individuals who must avoid leaving the home because of the risk of infection receive the cash that they need.
Guy Opperman, the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said: “We’re doing whatever it takes to ensure people are supported through these unprecedented times.
“This joint initiative enables us to reach out directly to those most likely to need support, and get cash delivered to their door where necessary.
“Thanks to the hard work of DWP and Post Office staff, vulnerable customers can rest assured there is help available if they need it.”
Nick Read, Chief Executive at the Post Office, said: “I am delighted that Post Office has been able to switch its travel money delivery business to get cash directly to those that need it most.
“Working with the DWP we are able to help some of the most vulnerable in our society, including those who have been asked to shield themselves at home, with the ability to deliver cash directly to their door.”