Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 9 July 2020, Health Transformation Programme update, HCWS353, what plans her Department has to continue providing (a) paper, (b) telephone and (c) other methods of disability benefit assessments to claimants of (i) personal independence payments and (ii) disability living allowance; and whether she plans to extend such methods of assessment to claimants of (A) employment and support allowance and (B) universal credit.
Paper based assessments of entitlement to Disability Living Allowance have always been offered in preference to other forms of assessment and will continue as normal. Paper based assessments have also always been a feature of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and are undertaken where there is sufficient evidence. Where possible and in line with usual processes, a paper-based assessment will be undertaken. In PIP we will continue to do telephone-based assessments where necessary.
Paper based reviews have also always been a feature of Work Capability Assessments for UC and ESA. Wherever possible, if there is sufficient evidence available, our Assessment Provider will make a recommendation based on a paper-based review. If this is not possible, our provider will currently look to offer a telephone assessment, where appropriate.
We remain fully committed to making continuous improvements to the support we provide to people with health conditions and disabilities, and are evaluating the changes to our assessment approach which were temporarily introduced. This will inform the approach taken to conducting assessments in the future. We are using a range of information to inform these decisions, including research with PIP and ESA/UC claimants about their experiences of telephone assessments.