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Charity welcomes suspension of benefit reviews

This news post is over 2 years old

Citizens Advice Scotland said the move was “common sense”.

Citizens Advice Scotland has welcomed the “common sense” move to suspend benefit reviews and reassessments during the coronavirus outbreak.

The UK Government announced today that anyone receiving Personal Independence Payment, Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance will have their reviews suspended for the next three months while the crisis is ongoing.

Assessments that have already taken place will continue to be processed, and those with appointments for assessments will be contacted regarding their case.

The move follows last week’s decision to suspend all face-to-face assessments in order to safeguard potentially vulnerable claimants from the virus. Benefits claimants have also been told they do not have to attend their jobcentre for the next three months.

Work and pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “As this country ramps up its efforts to support people through coronavirus, we will do whatever it takes to protect claimants and our staff.

“We are automatically extending all awards and reassessments for health and disability benefits to provide that reassurance to those in receipt of them.”

Mhoraig Green, Citizens Advice Scotland social justice spokesperson, said: “This common sense move is very welcome news. CAB advisers have long reported that these kinds of assessments are often distressing and lead to wrong decisions which leave vulnerable people without the support they need. We hope that this change will provide evidence over coming months to show why this change should be extended after coronavirus has passed.

“Our view is that these types of face-to-face meetings are rarely necessary and that better decisions can be reached using existing evidence about a persons’ situation, including from their medical practitioners.

“Suspending them now is certainly the right decision - disabled people have enough to concern themselves with simply by keeping themselves safe and healthy at the moment. They do not need the additional stress of reviews and re-assessments.”



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