DWP: Coronavirus Touchbase special – 24 July 2020

Roundup of recent DWP announcements

Run-on of legacy benefits introduced for new Universal Credit claimants

On 22 July, we introduced a run-on of legacy benefits for those moving to Universal Credit, to provide them with extra support.

This means if someone’s existing claim of income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support ends due to them applying for Universal Credit they will now receive a new, additional payment, worth up to two weeks of their legacy award.

The one-time run-on payment does not need to be paid back, and will be paid automatically to eligible claimants when they claim Universal Credit for the first time. It will not affect the amount of Universal Credit they receive.

Run-on payments will also be made for other premiums claimants have been receiving prior to moving over to Universal Credit, including Enhanced Disability Premium, carer premium or ESA work-related activity component.

Reintroduction of medical evidence

As part of the Department’s response to COVID-19, the requirement to provide medical evidence to support claims to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and New Style Employment Support Allowance (NSESA) was deferred. We are now reintroducing this requirement on a phased basis. All new claims received from 10 July 2020 for ESA and NSESA must be supported by medical evidence.

For claims in existence prior to 10 July 2020, medical evidence will be introduced gradually and we will write to all of those claimants advising the date from which they are required to provide evidence in the coming weeks.

Video Relay Service (VRS) – Support for deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users

The Video Relay Service has now been made available for people claiming Maternity Allowance and those accessing support from Child Maintenance Options and the Child Maintenance Service. This service allows customers to make an inbound call to DWP via a British Sign Language interpreter using a video connection. There is no need for anyone to be in the same location and customers do not have to book the service in advance.

We will provide further communications as the service continues to be rolled out.

Safer transport guidance

The Department for Transport has updated the latest travel guidance to remove the ‘avoid public transport’ message from outward-facing public communications. The only exception to this will be for areas under local lockdown.