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DWP's response to the coronavirus outbreak

Inquiry

The Work and Pensions Committee wants to hear about how coronavirus is affecting people who need to rely on the benefits system. We’re interested in finding out about the experiences of people who are having to claim benefits for the first time, the experiences of people who were already claiming benefits, and the experiences of people who need support but find they can’t claim any benefits.

If you’re someone with personal experience of the benefits system, you might prefer to complete our short survey. 

Complete our survey

If you’re responding on behalf of an organisation, or you’re an individual who wants to send us a longer written submission, we’d welcome your evidence.

You don’t need to answer all of the questions below, and you can tell us anything relevant, even if it isn’t covered by these questions. The deadline for sending your views is 11am on Thursday 16 April.

Some of the questions the Committee is interested in are:

  • How well is the Universal Credit system working for the unprecedented numbers of new claimants?
  • Has there been any improvement in the significant delays that new UC claimants were experiencing in the second half of March?
  • How quickly are people who ask for Advance payments of Universal Credit receiving their payments?
  • What lessons can be learned from the changes that have been made to the processes for verifying the identity of UC claimants? Are there any particular changes that should stay in place after the outbreak ends?
  • How do the needs of people claiming UC for the first time now differ from the needs of groups who’ve claimed UC in the past? How well is Universal Credit working for these new groups of people?
  • Are there any indications of how well the UC system will work for these claimants as they move into work in the short- to medium-term?
  • How well is the benefits system working for self-employed people who aren’t able to access the Government’s Self-employment Income Support Scheme? Is there a case for temporarily suspending the capital limits in UC during this period? 
  • How effective have DWP’s communications with the public been during this period? 
  • How easy is it for people to understand what they’re entitled to claim? For example:

- Is it clear enough how the benefits system interacts with other forms of Government support during this period, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

- Is it clear enough how public health guidance interacts with the benefits system?

  • How is the assessment process for Employment Support Allowance working? Have there been any difficulties with obtaining medical evidence to support claims?
  • What impact has the outbreak had on people who were waiting for a Mandatory Reconsideration of a decision, or who were going through the appeals process?
  • Have people who were already claiming benefits when the outbreak began seen any changes to the support they receive from DWP?
  • Are people who are claiming benefits receiving enough money to cover their basic living costs during this period?
  • Are there groups of people who need support but aren’t able to access it through the benefits system? What should DWP be doing to support those people?
  • Are support organisations and charities able to access the resources they need from DWP to support vulnerable people? What more could DWP be doing to facilitate that support?

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  • Email: workpencom@parliament.uk
  • Phone: 020 7219 8976 (General Enquiries) | For all media inquiries please contact Oliver Florence florenceo@parliament.uk / 02072191679
  • Address: Work and Pensions Committee | House of Commons | London | SW1A 0AA