Benefits and Grants
Benefits can often be confusing and complicated and so these pages are here to give you advice on such matters.
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) there have been changes implemented by the government to the benefits system.
Please take the time to read this link explaining the changes and the below information that we have been provided up to 18 March 2020. We appreciate things may change again so please bear with us.
CHANGES TO BENEFITS - PLEASE READ HERE
Disability Benefit Changes
From Tuesday 17 March Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits will be temporarily suspended.
It means that those on disability benefits will no longer be required to attend face-to-face assessments.
This will affect customers on Personal Independence Payment, Employment and Support Allowance and those on the Industrial Injuries schemes. The suspension also covers new claims to those benefits and health checks for Universal Credit.
Anyone who has a face-to-face assessment appointment scheduled from Tuesday 17 March onwards does not need to attend and will be contacted to discuss next steps and alternative arrangements, which could involve either telephone or paper-based assessments.
No further action is required by any customer as a result of this change. They will be contacted by assessment providers with advice on next steps.
We continue to accept new claims to all benefits. For existing customers, benefits will remain in payment while alternative arrangements are put in place.
• In addition to the suspension of face-to-face assessments for health and disability benefits, we are also suspending DWP face-to-face home visits across the benefits, with the exception of those customers who are most vulnerable – who will only be visited where it is safe to do so.
• The DWP are focusing their efforts to ensure people can make new claims and get paid on time. Processes are now in place to help the most vulnerable and those who are affected by Coronavirus - this will mean that appropriate customers will not have to attend the Jobcentre and any actions following their on-line claim will be completed by phone. No Verification appointment will be required, as checks will be made during the claim process. The DWP will take all this action once we are aware a customer wishes to make a claim and declares they are unable to attend the Jobcentre.
Customers who make a new claim as they do now, who don’t have any issues relating to Coronavirus, would again follow the business as normal process and attend the Jobcentre for a Verification appointment to get their claim up and running. However, they would not be expected to then attend any Work Coach interviews in the immediate short term, as these will be done via the phone or digitally.
We are also changing our approach to existing customer interventions by completing these by phone or digitally whenever possible. The result of these changes will significantly reduce the number of people attending the Jobcentre, but still allow the DWP to provide a service to those customers who are vulnerable as a result of Coronavirus.
Universal Credit is a new benefit that replaces several other benefits. It combines a number of different benefit payments into one amount that will be paid directly into your bank account every calendar month. More information on Universal Credit can be found here.
Useful websites for benefits & grants information
Alongside providing you with one-to-one support we can also guide you towards other useful organisations that provide valuable benefits information and advice. These include:
- The Government’s Benefits Website is a key place to find all up-to-date information on benefits including universal credit, tax credits and jobseeker's allowance.
- Turn2us are a benefits and grants charity who offer help and advice to people who require financial assistance.
- Their online Benefits Calculator is a useful tool to help you understand what you are entitled to.
- Their grants search tool has information on grants available from over 3000 charitable organisations.