Help with Benefits

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MhIST Advocacy Update focus: Benefits. At the moment, services are changing regarding the access to benefits but we have gone through the benefits information and also included the information from our own experiences of helping clients to access the services.

See below for details of Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Universal Credit, and Jobseekers Allowance (JSA).

EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT ALLOWANCE

You do need to tell the DWP about any changes to your circumstances which may affect your claim to benefits.

Due to the pandemic all jobcentres are closed until further notice and all face to face interviews are cancelled.

If you are claiming employment support allowance or new style employment support allowance, all face to face assessments (medicals) for health-related benefits have been temporarily stopped. If you have made a claim and do not have a date for a face to face work capability assessment, do not do anything, the DWP will phone or write to you to let you know what will happen next.

The DWP have also extended the duration of current fit notes during the pandemic and your payments will be made as normal. If you have recently received a letter asking for medical evidence you can ignore this. The DWP will let you know when you need to start providing medical evidence. 

To start a new claim for New Style ESA (contribution based) – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance

To enquire about an existing claim – 0800 169 0310.

If you are struggling with this and need an advocate or are unsure what to do next you can contact our advocacy team on 01204 527200 or send an email to help@mhist.co.uk. The advocacy team are still working, they are doing online advocacy, telephone calls and Zoom/Skype/FaceTime meetings. 

Please remember – we can also help the Carers of those who are experiencing mental health problems.

PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE PAYMENT

To start a new claim – 0800 917 2222.

To enquire about an existing claim – 0800 121 4433.

About Coronavirus and your benefit:

You do need to tell the DWP about any changes to your circumstances which may affect your claim to benefits.

Due to the pandemic all jobcentres are closed until further notice and all face to face interviews are cancelled.

If the DWP have recently sent you an ‘award review – how your disability affects you form’ you do not need to fill it in and return this. They should extend your award and your PIP payments will continue. They will send you a letter to confirm this.

If you have already returned an ‘award review – how your disability affects you form’ you may be invited to a telephone assessment appointment. It is important you take part so the DWP can make a decision on your claim.

If you have reported a change in your needs and the DWP have sent you a ‘how your disability affects you form’ they need the information in this form so they can make a decision.  The DWP have extended the time you have to return this form. You now have three months from the date on the covering letter to return the form but please do so sooner if you can. It is important you take part in any telephone assessment appointments you are invited to. After an assessment it may be 8 weeks or more before you hear from them.

If you have asked the DWP to look again at a decision on your PIP claim, you do not need to do anything. If the DWP require any further information they will contact you. If you wish to send any further information, you can do.

If you are struggling with this and need an advocate or are unsure what to do next you can contact our advocacy team on 01204 527200 or send an email to help@mhist.co.uk The advocacy team are still working, they are doing online advocacy, telephone calls and Zoom/Skype/FaceTime meetings. 

Please note – we also help carers of those who are experiencing mental health problems.

UNIVERSAL CREDIT

You do need to tell the DWP about any changes to your circumstances which may affect your claim to benefits.

About Coronavirus and your benefit:

Due to the pandemic all jobcentres are closed until further notice and all face to face interviews are cancelled.

To start a new claim for Universal Credit – https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

If you are struggling with this and need an advocate or are unsure what to do next you can contact our advocacy team on 01204 527200 or send an email to help@mhist.co.uk The advocacy team are still working, they are doing online advocacy, telephone calls and Zoom/Skype/FaceTime meetings. 

Please note – we also help carers of those who are experiencing mental health problems.

JOBSEEKERS ALLOWANCE

If you are claiming jobseekers allowance or new style jobseekers allowance you are excused from signing on at this time and will receive your benefit automatically on your usual day. The DWP will let you know when you are required to attend the jobcentre again.

If you are struggling with this and need an advocate or are unsure what to do next you can contact our advocacy team on 01204 527200 or send an email to help@mhist.co.uk The advocacy team are still working, they are doing online advocacy, telephone calls and Zoom/Skype/FaceTime meetings. 

Please note – we also help carers of those who are experiencing mental health problems.

Storehouse Foodbank MhIST’s advocacy service can refer clients to Storehouse for food parcels if needed. Storehouse is Bolton’s main centrally located foodbank – providing weekly food parcels to those in need across the borough. Primarily the project supports families and single people in distress as a result of redundancy, illness, debt, adverse changes or a delay in benefits including those who have been sanctioned.  

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