New (short term) claimants because of corona virus

DWP have confirmed that people who claim ESA or UC because they have coronavirus or are self-isolating because of coronavirus will automatically get the benefit without having to go to a face-to-face Work Capability Assessment. Such new claimants will be automatically treated as having ‘limited capability for work’. They will not be in the ‘Support Group’, and in theory might have to do work-related activity as instructed by their work coach. They will get paid ESA or UC from the first day of their claim, and they will not need to go into a Jobcentre to identify themselves or to obtain an advance payment.

While these moves are welcome, people will still have to complete long forms or go online to claim these benefits and there can be long admin delays before the claim is put into payment, even if they are automatically entitled. Healthy people weighing up whether to stop earning to self-isolate are not going to be reassured by the prospect of having to go through a lengthy claim process and possibly having to wait weeks for any money. BuDS continues to feel that using the cumbersome and incompetent benefits system to support people in this crisis is the wrong approach.

While it hasn’t been confirmed explicitly, it appears that existing UC jobseeker claimants who get coronavirus or who self-isolate will also automatically be treated as having limited capability for work and get the appropriate rate of benefit. If this affects you, use your journal to tell your work coach that you have been advised to self-isolate or have the virus. 

For more information go to What help I could receive if I am a self employed worker.


You can read the DWP written answer here:…/writte…/Commons/2020-03-03/24307    or…/coronavirus-support-for-employees-bene…



Benefit related questions

All f2f assessments have been cancelled for approx 3 months. Assessments will either be

  • Paper based

  • Telephone based or

  • Suspended temporarily

However Present payments will still be made and/or awards extended  until the crisis is over.

New claims will still be exactly a decision will be made on them we don't know but we expect again it will be either paper/phone/longer wait for a decision.

Jobcentres are closing so no need to go in for appointments. These will also be phone based.

You should receive emails/phone calls/messages on your journals regarding this but if in doubt please ring the appropriate dept for advice.

Tribunals are also changing from f2f to telephone and video tribunals now. 


For those already claiming benefits 

DWP have confirmed that people *already* on ESA or PIP who are required to attend a face-to-face assessment will have the assessment appointment postponed as they are stopped until at least June, jobcentres are now  all closed, all contact is now by  via phone or paper assessments.

DWP also say that existing claims will continue to be paid until a decision is taken after the postponed face-to-face assessment. This change will affect people whose ESA or PIP claim is being reviewed or renewed, or who have claimed contributory (‘new style’) ESA and are on the assessment rate pending a decision.

New PIP claims
DWP have still not said what will happen about face-to-face assessments for people making *new* PIP claims, who normally do not get any money until after the face-to-face assessment. BuDS will update you as soon as we have information.


This is free information from the BuDS Disability Information Service. It is only information and you should take advice on your own case. Please feel free to share but don’t pass this off as your own work or we may take action against you. If you value what BuDS does, please give us a review on our Facebook page Buckinghamshire Disability Service (BuDS)



HMCTS have confirmed that all face-to-face tribunal hearings have been suspended with immediate effect.

All hearings will take place either on the papers or by telephone. This applies to all Tribunals including benefit tribunals, mental health tribunals and SEND tribunals.

You should expect to get a phone call from HMCTS telling you about the arrangements for your hearing. Please do not call HMCTS unless your hearing is very close.

There are larger changes to how Tribunals will work which BuDS is analysing now and will report about later today.