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Disability benefits - coronavirus info for families of deaf children

Published Date: 11 Sep 2020

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP)

You can still apply to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for Disability Living Allowance (DLA - for under 16s) or Personal Independence Payments (PIP - for 16s and over). However, there may be delays in handling your application. If successful, any benefits will be backdated to when the application was first made.

You should contact DWP if your DLA or PIP payments are due to end in less than six months and you have not been sent a form to complete or notified in writing that your award will be extended, you should contact the DWP about the benefit in question. Please note that your money will stop automatically unless a decision is made to extend your award before it ends.

If your child was invited to claim PIP, you may have been told by DWP that your child’s claim was being put on hold and that any DLA payments will continue. If so, DWP will send a letter at a later date about restarting your child’s claim. If you haven’t receive a letter or if you are uncertain, please contact DWP or our helpline.

In the meantime, you will still need to tell DWP about changes which might affect the amount of benefit your child receives.

In addition, the Government has decided to temporarily suspend all face-to-face consultations for PIP from the 17th March. Instead, officials will look at written information that’s already been provided, as well as gathering further evidence from other professionals.

More information is available from DWP.

Assessments

It is possible that the health assessment provider may ask to speak with your child over the telephone to collect further evidence. We have asked DWP to consider the appropriateness of this for deaf young people.

If your child has been invited to a PIP telephone assessment appointment, it is important they take part. If your child cannot take part, contact the assessment provider to let them know. Their contact details are on the appointment letter they sent you/your child.

If your child cannot use the phone, we encourage you to contact the health assessment provider to explain this and to agree an alternative approach. This might include a video call, jointly with the assessor and an interpreter or a webchat. We understand that health assessment providers will be using the SignVideo service for assessments with deaf people who use sign language. Please contact our helpline or ask your child to get in touch with us if there are any difficulties around communicating with the health assessment provider remotely.  

If your child does not take part and you/they have not contacted the assessment provider, the assessment provider may return their PIP claim to DWP. DWP will then try to contact you/your child. But if they cannot get in touch with you/them, or they did not have a good reason for not taking part, the DLA payments may stop.

Once the assessment has been carried out, your child’s DLA payments will continue until DWP have made a decision on their PIP claim.

Appeals

In England, Scotland and Wales, the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal is still considering any appeals on decisions made about your child’s DLA or PIP. Similarly, in Northern Ireland, the Appeals Service is still considering appeals. These will be carried out by telephone or video. If you have a hearing scheduled in the coming few weeks, please call Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Services (HMCTS) on 0300 123 1142 or (for Northern Ireland) the Appeals Service on 0208 9054 4000 to clarify the status of your hearing. As yet, it is unclear how these will be made accessible to deaf young people. Please contact our helpline for support and advice on this.

Carer's Allowance

Where families receive carer's allowance, if they are temporarily unable to care for their child normally because they or their child have coronavirus symptoms, the Government has said this will not be treated as a ‘break’ in caring responsibilities for the purpose of this benefit. More information on this is available on the Contact website.