New blow for PIP claimants who could have to provide 'medical evidence' in DWP plans

People claiming Personal Independence Payments have been delivered a new obstacle amid reports they may soon have to 'provide medical evidence' to the DWP.

In order to keep their payments, claimants are expected to have to satisfy tough new rules imposed on the benefit system. It is one of a number of changes being explored by the DWP in order to cut welfare costs.

Officials say some people may be getting more money than they need, while others may require support. The DWP is looking at moving away from the blanket payment for all approach in favour of a system more tailored to individuals.

Critics argue many disabled people could lose out. Some claimants face losing cash payments and being given vouchers, while other proposals including making people spend their own money before later being reimbursed so the DWP knows exactly how much claimants spend to meet their needs, reports the Birmingham Mail.

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PIP, which stands for Personal Independence Payments, is worth up to £184 a week. Officials are also looking at how other countries run their welfare systems. They referenced how people in New Zealand "submit supporting medical evidence verifying their health condition".

The DWP said in its 'Modernising support for independent living: the health and disability Green Paper': "PIP was designed to help disabled people and people with long-term health conditions by making a cash contribution towards their extra costs. It does not require any calculation of these costs, nor does it require recipients to spend their award in a particular way.

"Some people on PIP may have relatively small one-off or ongoing additional costs related to their disability or health condition that are fully covered by their award while others may find the current system does not provide enough support to meet their needs. We want to consider whether supporting people through direct, regular cash payments is still the best approach, or whether other approaches would better target our resources, delivering the right support to the people who need it most.

"We want to know whether there are potentially groups of people who might need more than the current system provides, and what kinds of support they need." They continued: "Different models are used in other countries."

"For instance, in New Zealand, people submit supporting medical evidence verifying their health condition and also provide estimates of their additional costs (eg.£50 per month for physiotherapy), which are then approved for an ongoing award. In Denmark, awards for extra costs are determined on a case-by-case basis and issued by local government." The plans are currently out to a 12-week consultation.