News & Features

Survey Reveals COVID-19's Impact on the Benefits System

Posted in General News on Thursday, April 30th, 2020

On 27th April the Work and Pensions Committee published the results of a survey which was designed to reveal how the Coronavirus pandemic is impacting the lives of benefit claimants. More than 6,000 people responded to this survey and the responses came from people in a number of different situations. The respondents included people who are claiming benefits for the first time, existing benefit claimants and those who have not been able to claim benefits due to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. The results of the survey show that claimants of incapacity and disability benefits have been most affected.

Some of the respondents stated that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decision to suspended face-to-face assessments for disability benefits has caused problems because some of the appointments have not been rescheduled and people have been left uncertain about what is going to happen regarding their claim.

Those with mental health conditions have been affected by the social distancing measures because they have not been able to access the support they need to enable them to complete applications or health assessments.

Some of the people who have suffered a reduction in income because of the COVID-19 pandemic have described how this has made it more difficult for them to afford their own care or support the person they are caring for. One of the respondents said: “Food and other household goods have gone up in price or I can't buy the cheaper options I normally get, so the money I get isn't going far enough. I'm having to spend a lot of money on cleaning products and PPE for my carers as I'm in the extremely vulnerable category.”

Despite the amount of negative responses that were submitted by those involved, it wasn’t all bad and many people were pleased with how quickly the DWP has adapted its processes to help people cope with the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you would like to read the Work and Pensions Committee’s response to this survey you can do this by visiting https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmworpen/correspondence/coronavirus-survey-responses.pdf 

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