Face-to-face assessments to resume

Face-to-face assessments to resume

5th April 2021

Important DWP announcement affecting Universal Credit, PIP and ESA benefit claimants

The DWP is making an important change - and it will affect thousands of benefit claimants.

An important announcement has been made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which affects thousands of benefit claimants across the country.

Face-to-face assessments for some benefits will resume from May, 2021.

It includes those who claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit claimants.

The change will “only be for those who we are unable to fully assess by other channels”, the DWP said in a statement.

It also announced that “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 and telephone assessments for PIP and Work Capability Assessments for ESA and Universal Credit claimants, reports the Daily Record.

The DWP also recently announced that video call assessments are now being rolled out across the UK, after changes in legislation came into effect on March 25, 2021.

The DWP explained how “people who have a Work Capability Assessment for Universal Credit or New-Style Employment and Support Allowance or make a new claim to Personal Independence Payment or the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit” could be invited for this type of assessment.

Video assessments will take place alongside existing telephone and paper-based assessments, which have been carried out throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The DWP said it has worked with assessment providers to ensure that assessment centres are fully compliant with Covid-19 safety measures and earlier this week published detailed guidance on GOV.UK for claimants and assessment providers to support the safe resumption of face-to-face assessments.

The DWP detailed guidance for claimants in Scotland, England and Wales, asked to attend a face-to-face assessment includes:

  • Advice for claimants who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’

  • Advice on who you can bring with you to the assessment centre

  • Social distancing requirements

  • Sanitisation

  • 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.”

You can read the full GOV.UK guidance for claimants here and assessment providers here.