DWP: Coronavirus Touchbase special – 18 September 2020

Roundup of recent DWP announcements

Pension Awareness Week

This week DWP supported Pensions Awareness Week to provide advice for people on understanding pensions and planning for retirement. You can direct people to information and advice on planning for retirement at GOV.UK.

Updated PIP Assessment Guidance

PIP Assessment Guidance (PIPAG) has been updated, from 17 September, to reflect the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v. MM into the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment process.

This means that changes have been made to the way PIP Activity 9 is assessed, regarding the definition of social support when engaging with other people face to face and how far in advance that support can be provided.

Claimants affected by the judgment do not need to take any action. The judgment will be applied to their PIP decision and they will be contacted if any further information is needed.

We will be undertaking an administrative exercise to check whether claimants are entitled to more PIP as a result of the judgment. We will keep you informed on our approach.

Severe Disability Premium Transitional Payments

From 8 October, there will be a change to the administration of Severe Disability Premium Transitional Payments. The extra monthly payment which eligible people receive will be included in their Universal Credit payment. This means that, instead of receiving two payments to their bank account, they will receive just one. Their Universal Credit statement will show what has been paid, and the extra payment will be shown as ‘transitional protection’ on Universal Credit statements.

Over time, if a person’s Universal Credit entitlement increases then the amount of transitional protection they receive will go down. However, as long as the Universal Credit award does not decrease, the overall level of payment will remain the same.

Claimants do not need to take any action. Claimants will be called individually by the Department to explain what is happening to the payments. In addition, they will each receive a letter informing them of the change.

Update on Coronavirus testing

Coronavirus tests are currently in very high demand. It is vital we only test people with symptoms to help stop the spread of the virus.

  • If you have any coronavirus symptoms you must isolate immediately for 10 days (don’t wait for a test or test result)
  • If you are identified as a contact you must isolate for the full 14 days (even if you get a negative test during that period)

Get a test only if you have symptoms of:

  • a high temperature OR
  • a new, continuous cough OR
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Do NOT book an NHS test even if:

  • Your employer, school, or travel company asks for a negative test
  • Someone in your household has symptoms
  • You have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus
  • You have been abroad and are quarantining
  • Follow the official guidance on testing.

Please share this information with your membership and audiences.

NHS COVID-19 app

Businesses and venues in England and Wales can get ready for the national launch of the NHS COVID-19 app on 24 September by downloading official NHS QR posters and an explainer pack.

The app will make it easier for customers to safely check-in and be alerted in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.