Coronavirus FAQs – Care

Are there any changes to direct payments? Can we look at using direct payments to families where their usual support workers (perhaps provided by a service or agency) can no longer support them because of COVID-19? Can direct payments be used for other types of support, if the usual support is not available? 

Social Care teams are piloting new ways of supporting families to help minimise the additional strain that coronavirus is placing on families at this time. This may be caused by the virus affecting families directly, or by the virus affecting one or more of the sources of support.  

Essex Social Care has produced guidance for social workers to enable families to use direct payments more flexibly and responsively during this time. A letter is going out to all families who are currently in receipt of direct payments giving advice and guidance around planning for their support needs.  

What happens to things like Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) renewals if people cannot gather the information they need to renew the claim?  

The Department for Communities (DfC) page provides the latest information about COVID-19 and DfC services. It will be updated regularly with the latest information, so you should check this page for advice on Benefits and other public service.

Health and disability benefits 

All reassessment and renewal activity on health and disability benefits including Disability Living Allowance will be suspended for a period of 3 months from 24 March. 

Carer’s Allowance 

Carers will continue to be paid Carer’s Allowance when they have temporarily ceased to care for a severely disabled person due to either of them self-isolating or being infected with COVID-19. During the COVID-19 pandemic, emotional support can also count towards the 35 hours a week you spend caring for someone who is ill or has a disability. 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) 

If you are claiming or considering claiming PIP, all medical assessments will be carried out by telephone or by considering medical evidence submitted by post. Face to face assessments for new claims have been suspended for a period of three months from 16 March. New reviews and reassessments for PIP have been suspended for a period of three months from 24 March.  

Community Shield – how Essex County Council are getting food supplies to our most vulnerable residents

Essex Welfare Service Essex County Council has set up a new service to help vulnerable people in our community who are staying at home and in need of support during the coronavirus period. The Essex Welfare service is specifically for people who are not able to get any support from either family or friends or from their local are support groups. 

Information about safeguarding children and young people – these pages will outline any temporary changes to multi-agency safeguarding procedure and guidance. The Children and Families Service continue to prioritise support through continued contact with high risk child protection cases, our children-in-care and young people living in semi-independent accommodation. Given how quickly the situation is progressing the information detailed on this page will be reviewed and updated regularly. There are also pages with general information – signposting to national and local advice, as well as resources for families.