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Written Question
Universal Credit: Disability
Monday 23rd October 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people receiving the Disability Element of Working Tax Credits are not disadvantaged in the transition to Universal Credit.

Answered by Guy Opperman - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

All individuals issued with a migration notice informing them that they must make a claim to Universal Credit will be assessed for transitional protection at the point of making a claim to Universal Credit.

Transitional protection, by way of a transitional element, will be then awarded to eligible claimants to ensure their entitlement to Universal Credit is not lower than the entitlement they received as part of their legacy benefits.


Written Question
Universal Credit: Disability
Wednesday 13th September 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure protections for people with disabled worker status are maintained in the managed migration to Universal Credit.

Answered by Guy Opperman - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

People who are being moved to Universal Credit (UC) from Employment and Support Allowance take with them their Work Capability Assessment decision. They are not required to have another assessment to get the disability element they are entitled to on Universal Credit.

At the point of moving over to Universal Credit as part of the managed migration process, all claimants will be assessed for transitional protection and paid where appropriate. Transitional protection is designed so that eligible claimants will not have a lower entitlement to Universal Credit than they had entitlement to legacy benefits, at the point they move to the new benefit system.


Written Question
Universal Credit
Wednesday 13th September 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that legacy benefit claimants do not have their support terminated before moving to Universal Credit.

Answered by Guy Opperman - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

It is a fundamental principle of social security in the United Kingdom that people need to make a claim for benefits. For those already in receipt of benefits, Parliament made it clear, though its passage of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, that entitlement to those benefits would cease as Universal Credit (UC) was implemented.

The Department provides a range of support to individuals, to assist them during migration including a dedicated DWP telephone line and signposting to independent support through the Help to Claim service.  Help to Claim is an independent service and is available to those moving from legacy benefits because of managed migration, voluntary moves, or a change of circumstances.

The Migration Notice is the key way in which we initially communicate with legacy benefit claimants to inform them of the requirement to migrate to UC within 3 months. However, we also provide a reminder after 7 weeks and at week 10. If claimants haven’t made a claim for UC and after the 3 month period, on a case by case basis, there is a grace period of 1 month within which a tax credit claimant can make a claim for UC without losing eligibility for transitional protection.

Terminating benefits is our last resort. If a claimant does not claim by their extended deadline, they will be notified that their current benefit(s) will be terminated, unless they have significant support needs requiring a further extension. For those claimants who require significant support, we hold case conferences with Advanced Customer Support Senior Leaders who provide local expertise, working with different organisations to take a multi-agency approach. Where a claimant’s legacy benefit(s) has been terminated and they make a claim to UC within one month, their claim can be backdated to their deadline date and still be awarded Transitional Protection where applicable.


Written Question
Universal Credit: Applications
Tuesday 12th September 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has issued guidance on the circumstances in which the deadline for an application for Universal Credit could be extended.

Answered by Guy Opperman - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Department has issued guidance on the circumstances in which the deadline for an application for Universal Credit could be extended. This guidance is regularly reviewed and updated.


Written Question
Universal Credit: Overpayments
Tuesday 12th September 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how existing overpayments will be handled in the managed migration from Working Tax Credits to Universal Credit.

Answered by Guy Opperman - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

When a claimant’s tax credit claim is closed, for whatever reason, including a move to Universal Credit, the debt is transferred to the Department’s Debt Management team.

Once Universal Credit is in payment, the overpayment will be recovered in line with the Universal Credit regulations.


Written Question
Long Covid: Children
Monday 6th March 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure that children with long covid are (a) assessed for and (b) awarded Disability Living Allowance.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is an extra-costs benefit available as a contribution to the extra costs associated with being disabled to those children under the age of 16 who, due to a disability or health condition, have mobility issues and/or have needs which are substantially in excess of a child the same age without the disability or health condition. Entitlement to DLA depends on the effects that severe disability has on a child’s life, and not on a particular disability or diagnosis. The needs arising from Long Covid are assessed in the same way as for all other health conditions or disabilities.

From March 2021 we amended DLA statistical classifications to include the category “Coronavirus COVID-19”. Data on the DLA caseload by a range of factors, including main disabling condition, can be extracted from Stat-Xplore - Log in (dwp.gov.uk). Information on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found at Getting Started (dwp.gov.uk).


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment: Long Covid
Monday 6th March 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of Personal Independence Payment descriptors for people with long covid.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

No such assessment has been made.

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment is a functional assessment that assesses the impact of a person’s disability or health condition, rather than the condition itself. This means that a person with any health condition that has impacts on their functioning, and who meets eligibility criteria, can be assessed and, if they meet the appropriate assessment criteria, an award for PIP can be made. The impacts from Long Covid are assessed in the same way as for all other health conditions or disabilities.


Written Question
Key Workers: Long Covid
Monday 6th March 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department is taking steps with Cabinet colleagues to provide financial support to keyworkers with long covid.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on a range of issues.

The DWP already offers financial support through Universal Credit and New Style Employment and Support Allowance for people who are unable to work due to long-Covid, subject to them satisfying the eligibility criteria and contribution conditions. In addition, people with Long-Covid may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment. This support is available regardless of keyworker status. The department is not currently planning to establish a hardship fund for keyworkers with Long-Covid.


Written Question
Key Workers: Long Covid
Monday 6th March 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a hardship fund for keyworkers with long covid.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on a range of issues.

The DWP already offers financial support through Universal Credit and New Style Employment and Support Allowance for people who are unable to work due to long-Covid, subject to them satisfying the eligibility criteria and contribution conditions. In addition, people with Long-Covid may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment. This support is available regardless of keyworker status. The department is not currently planning to establish a hardship fund for keyworkers with Long-Covid.


Written Question
Key Workers: Long Covid
Monday 6th March 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the eligibility criteria for the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit to keyworkers with long covid.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The department is advised by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC), an independent scientific body, on changes to the list of occupational diseases for which Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit can be paid.

Their report, ‘COVID-19 and Occupational Impacts’, was published in November 2022 and recommended prescription for health and social care workers with five serious pathological complications following COVID-19 infection. The department is currently carrying out a detailed assessment of the report’s recommendations. Once this work is complete, the department will provide a formal response.

IIAC considered that the evidence is not, at present, sufficient to recommend prescription for Long Covid. IIAC will continue to investigate the occupational implications of COVID-19, including any post-infection associations.