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DWP Touchbase: CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL 30 March 2020
March 31, 2020
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Access to jobcentres now limited 
Access to jobcentres is now being limited with members of the public only admitted if they are directed to do so with a booked appointment.  Only the most vulnerable claimants who cannot access DWP services in other ways will be invited to attend. In the meantime, services should be accessed online and over the phone if required. New claims for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance should be made online. For more information visit the Understanding Universal Credit website. We are taking urgent action to boost capacity, including moving 10,000 existing staff to work on new claims with 1,000 already in place, and will recruit a further 1,500 staff to aid the effort. 
Chancellor gives support to millions of self-employed people 
On Thursday 26 March, the Chancellor announced a package of support for people who are self-employed. Further information can be found on GOV.UK.  
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 
The Government has published further details and guidance for theJob Retention scheme. This includes information on pension contributions. 
Reviews and reassessments for disability benefits suspended for three months 
There will be no new reviews or reassessments across all disability benefits for three months; this includes Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. This measure is effective from Tuesday 24 March and follows on from a previous announcement to suspend all face-to-face assessments for these benefits. For PIP claimants, if an assessment has already taken place this will continue to be processed. If an assessment has been scheduled, claimants will be contacted by the assessment provider. ESA and UC claimants whose cases have already been referred to the provider will be contacted to progress those. Further information can be found in the press release
Stay at Home, Save Lives Public Health England launched its nationwide Stay at Home, Save Lives campaign on Monday 23 March. The campaign gives the most up to date Coronavirus information; detailing the only reasons that someone can The government will look again at these measures after three weeks,leave their home, with the key message of ‘Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’.  The government has introduced three new measures: Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.Closing certain businesses and venues.Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public. The government will look again at these measures after three weeks. Public Health England has produced a range of materials across print, social, digital, TV and radio that can be shared to get the message across. 
HMRC – change of contact number As people across the UK are staying at home, HMRC have noticed some strain on their network provider. HMRC have now changed their helpline number to ensure those needing help and support can keep reaching their advisers.   The new helpline number is 0800 024 1222 and is open from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Calls to the old helpline number will be redirected, but please refer customers to the new helpline number where possible. 

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