BENEFITS EXPERT: I’m due to go into hospital so will my benefits be affected?
There has been a recent announcement that will affect all new claims for Universal Credit for claimants receiving the benefit as a job seeker.
Previously when a UC claim was commenced the DWP allowed claimants a three-month period in which to obtain employment in their preferred area of expertise and after this three- month period has passed claimants would then be expected to apply for jobs in a much wider group of employment areas even if they had no previous experience or salaries offered would be much lower than those they typically received in their usual area of employment.
Failing to widen their job search could then lead to a UC sanction. The three-month period will now be reduced to four weeks, the intention being to assist in the economic recovery following COVID and lockdown restrictions. These changes will only affect UC claimants who are job seekers, those claiming on grounds of ill health or as a carer won’t be affected.
Q. I currently receive PIP for care and mobility, these are the only benefits I currently receive and I am due to go into hospital for surgery and likely to remain an in-patient for some time. Will my benefits be affected?
A. Generally speaking most benefits will be affected if costs for care are met from public funds, so admissions to hospital, residential care, etc. may lead to the suspension of your benefits after a four-week period. The admission to hospital will not actually end the claim, rather your payments will be suspended when the four-week period begins and upon discharge you would notify the DWP to have the benefits put back into payment. If you feel there have been any changes to your care or mobility needs following treatment then these should be disclosed to the DWP as your benefits may need to be reassessed but simply being a hospital in patient or having treatment in itself should not trigger a review of a previously decided award.
Also remember that if you have anyone claiming Carer’s Allowance for looking after you will also have their benefits suspended after the 4 week period and they should also advised the DWP as the information is not automatically passed from department to department within the DWP. Upon discharge and provided your own PIP award has not changed then your carer will also get the Carer’s Allowance reinstated.