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Emergency changes to social security system ‘being kept under review’

All face-to-face PIP and DLA assessments were paused in March to June, but that has since been extended.

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Communities minister Caral Ni Chuilin (Niall Carson/PA)

Communities minister Caral Ni Chuilin (Niall Carson/PA)

Communities minister Caral Ni Chuilin (Niall Carson/PA)

Emergency changes made to the social security system at the start of the pandemic are being kept under review, the communities minister has said.

The changes included suspending all face-to-face PIP and DLA assessments between March and June, but this has since been extended.

“Given the ongoing social-distancing requirements, I have extended this easement to safeguard people’s health and safety while ensuring that my department continues to provide the most appropriate support to disabled people,” Caral Ni Chuilin told the Stormont Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Covid-19 Response.

“I will continue to keep this position under review and my officials are due to meet again with the advice sector to keep them updated and brief them on next steps.”

Ms Ni Chuilin said her department has invested £10 million in a scheme to distribute food to vulnerable people, delivering more than 184,000 food boxes.

She said the scheme was set up as a short-term emergency response during the pandemic, and will continue until July 31.

PA