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Written Question
Coronavirus: Quarantine
Monday 7th March 2022

Asked by: Chi Onwurah (Labour - Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support the Government is providing to extremely clinically vulnerable people who continue to shield and (a) are unable to seek employment and (b) are not in receipt of benefits because of the earnings of another household member.

Answered by Lucy Frazer - Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)

The successful rollout of the vaccination programme and the emergence of proven treatments, along with our improved understanding of the virus and the clinical risks it poses, means that those previously classed as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) are no longer advised to shield. Most people who were previously identified as CEV respond well to the vaccine and should follow the same guidance as the general public on staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do. Those identified as CEV may also receive additional advice from their health professional.

The Government has provided separate guidance for the smaller number of people whose immune system means they remain at higher risk: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk.

Many individuals who were previously identified as CEV will have a disability or long-term health condition, meaning that they may be entitled to non-means tested disability benefits. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is the Government’s primary means of supporting working age adults with the extra costs arising from long-term ill health and disability. PIP is paid regardless of household income and irrespective of whether someone is in work. The Government will spend over £12.2 billion to support 2.1 million working age people on PIP in 2021-22.


Written Question
Social Security Benefits: Long Covid
Monday 21st February 2022

Asked by: Jonathan Ashworth (Labour (Co-op) - Leicester South)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of people claiming disability benefits or universal credit who are experiencing long covid; and what plans her Department has to undertake future monitoring of the number of people receiving support from her Department who are experiencing long covid.

Answered by Chloe Smith - Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

The Department publishes monthly Official Statistics on the number of people entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) by main disabling condition. The Department also publishes quarterly National Statistics on the number of people entitled to, and in payment of, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA) by main disabling condition. Statistics are available to October 2021 for PIP, and August 2021 for DLA and AA on Stat-Xplore. Guidance for users is available here.

From March 2021 PIP, DLA and AA cases were able to have the disability or main disabling condition classified as "Coronavirus covid-19". These cases are long covid / post-covid syndrome cases, rather than initial covid-19 infection. Any individuals with long covid as their primary reason for claiming PIP, DLA or AA prior to March 2021 will not be classified as "Coronavirus covid-19". These cases will remain classified according to the disability recorded that links with the claimant’s functional needs.

For PIP statistics, the PIP Cases with Entitlement dataset allows you to view the number of PIP cases with entitlement split by disability. Coronavirus-19 can be selected by expanding ‘Infectious disease’ then ‘Viral diseases’. For DLA and AA, the respective DLA and AA: Cases with Entitlement – Data from May 2018 datasets have a category within the disability filter called ‘Infectious diseases: Viral disease - Coronavirus covid-19.’

Please note that data is based on primary disabling condition. This is as recorded on the administrative systems for PIP, DLA and AA. Claimants may often have multiple disabling conditions upon which the decision is based but only the primary condition is available for statistical purposes and shown in these statistics.

The information requested for Universal Credit is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. There are currently no plans to provide such a breakdown.

Other people receiving support with long covid may include those receiving Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), however information is currently only available for high level medical conditions on Stat-Xplore and analysts are investigating if lower level conditions, including "Coronavirus covid-19", can be recorded and reported in the future.


Written Question
Social Security Benefits: Disability
Thursday 20th January 2022

Asked by: Vicky Foxcroft (Labour - Lewisham, Deptford)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, what recent progress her Department has made on exploring options to reduce the frequency of repeat Work Capability Assessments and Personal Independence Payment assessments, to avoid assessments where a change of award is unlikely.

Answered by Chloe Smith - Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

As announced in the recent Shaping Future Support: Health and Disability Green Paper we want to make changes to the assessment process so people with the most severe health conditions and disabilities have a simpler process to claim the benefits they are entitled to. We are exploring how to test a new Severe Disability Group (SDG) so those with severe and lifelong conditions can benefit from a simplified process to access ESA/UC and PIP without ever needing to complete a detailed application form or go through a face to assessment.

We have already stopped reassessments for people with the most severe conditions which are unlikely to change. In Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper, we proposed ways to further reduce the number of unnecessary assessments, while continuing to ensure support is properly targeted. Alongside this, we proposed ways of offering greater flexibility and simplicity in the way that assessments are delivered, including improving the evidence we use to make decisions from health assessments, and learn the lessons of coronavirus where we introduced telephone and video assessments.

We consulted on a range of proposals in the Green Paper and received more than 4,500 responses. We will set out next steps in a White Paper later this year.


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment
Thursday 23rd September 2021

Asked by: Marion Fellows (Scottish National Party - Motherwell and Wishaw)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the (a) challenges and (b) merits of personal independence payment phone assessments.

Answered by Chloe Smith - Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

During the coronavirus pandemic, we carried out assessments by telephone as a temporary measure. The feedback on telephone assessments has so far been positive: in a recent survey published by the Department, the majority of people who had a telephone assessment for PIP or for their WCA were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’.

In Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper, we are consulting on the use of telephone and video assessments as an alternative to face-to-face in the future and want to fully evaluate their effectiveness. We have asked for views about the different ways to provide assessments, and how to improve telephone assessments to ensure they are as accurate and effective as possible. It is important that people continue to receive consistent and accurate decisions irrespective of the type of assessment they go through.

DWP Survey results of claimants who have received a telephone assessment are published here: Claimant experience of telephone-based health assessments for PIP, ESA and UC - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment: Long Covid
Tuesday 20th July 2021

Asked by: Drew Hendry (Scottish National Party - Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2021 to Question 28245 on Personal Independence Payments: Long Covid, how many people have applied for personal independence payments with covid-19 as a primary disability since March 2021.

Answered by Justin Tomlinson

In the application process for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), a claimant’s main disabling condition is only recorded centrally on Departmental computer systems at assessment. Disabilities are not recorded centrally at the point of application. The Department does not therefore hold data on the number of applicants to PIP with particular conditions. Only those who have a disability assessment determination decision will have a main disabling condition recorded for them.

The latest available data on the number of people who have “Coronavirus COVID-19” recorded as their primary disability following assessment for PIP each month can be found on Stat-Xplore: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/. As described in my response to Question 28245, this disabling condition has been available to record for PIP assessments following a computer system change in March 2021. Due to the nature of the qualifying period for PIP claims, these cases will all be “long COVID” or “post-COVID syndrome” cases rather than initial COVID-19 infections.

Guidance on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found here:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/index.html.


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment: Coronavirus
Thursday 15th July 2021

Asked by: Angela Eagle (Labour - Wallasey)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of personal independence payment claimants previously awarded a fixed-term award who have had their claim stopped due to a delay in processing claims as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Justin Tomlinson

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible and are treating as a priority advance claims, where a person’s previous fixed term award has ended. Where a person is found to still be eligible for Personal Independence Payment their award is backdated to the point they claimed or when their previous award ended, so no one loses out financially.


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment: Long Covid
Monday 12th July 2021

Asked by: Drew Hendry (Scottish National Party - Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the inclusion of covid-19 as a registrable cause for a long term health condition when applying for personal independence payment (PIP) since March 2021, what discussions his Department has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on developing a system of monthly published reporting of PIP application numbers to allow for additional tracking of the economic impact of long covid.

Answered by Justin Tomlinson

Entitlement to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is assessed on the basis of the needs arising from a health condition or disability, rather than the health condition or disability itself.

PIP statistics are published on a quarterly basis and include breakdowns by month. From March 2021, the published statistical series that include low level disability breakdowns (clearances, PIP cases with entitlement, MR registrations and clearances, Award Review & Change of Circumstance clearances) include the additional category “Coronavirus covid-19”. This reflects an operational change implemented in March 2021 to include this code on the PIP Computer System. This will allow us to track the volume of clearances with Coronavirus covid-19 as a primary disability and the corresponding volume/proportion of the PIP caseload. There are currently no plans to publish the PIP statistics on a monthly basis.

There are regular, ongoing discussions between the Secretary of State and Cabinet colleagues.


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment: Coronavirus
Monday 19th April 2021

Asked by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 21 January 2021 to Question 139055 on Personal Independence Payment: coronavirus, whether his Department plans to automatically apply extensions to all personal independence payments claimants, including those with a fixed term period decision awarded at a tribunal where a decision on their new award could not be made before they reach their end award date.

Answered by Justin Tomlinson

As referenced in my previous answer, as part of its response to the Covid-19 situation, in Spring 2020 the Department extended award dates for existing PIP claims. We restarted the PIP award review process in July. New decisions made since then will not have had their awards extended. However, we are aware that some claimants on fixed term awards without a review date are now falling out of payment before we have been able to make a decision on renewal claims they have made. We are prioritising these cases to ensure we can make a decision as quickly as possible.


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment: Coronavirus
Monday 22nd March 2021

Asked by: Angela Eagle (Labour - Wallasey)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many personal independence payments claimants previously awarded a fixed term award have had their claim stopped due to a backlog of claims as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Justin Tomlinson

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.


Written Question
Personal Independence Payment: Coronavirus
Wednesday 24th February 2021

Asked by: Christine Jardine (Liberal Democrat - Edinburgh West)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to what extent the covid-19 outbreak is causing delays to personal independence payment renewals; and what steps the Department is taking to reduce the backlog of assessments for those payments.

Answered by Justin Tomlinson

Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, we have been committed to ensuring that people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment in a timely manner. We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible and are treating as a priority Advance Claims, where a person’s previous Fixed Term Award has ended.