DWP issues new update on current PIP payments and assessments after recent reforms announcement

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed there will be “no immediate changes to PIP (Personal Independence Payment), or to health assessments” following a recent UK Government announcement on plans to reform the disability benefit. Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Mims Davies MP, also said: “All scheduled PIP assessments and payments will proceed as normal, and claimants should continue to engage as usual and provide any necessary information or updates regarding their circumstances.”

Her comments came in a written response on Wednesday after Labour MP Imran Hussain probed whether the DWP has “made an assessment of the potential impact of proposed reforms to Personal Independence Payment on the mental wellbeing of people who become ineligible as a result of those changes”.

The Bradford East MP also asked if there have been discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the “adequacy of availability of Government-funded mental health services”.

The DWP Minister responded: “Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper looks at different options to reshape the current welfare system so that we can provide better targeted support to those who need it most.

“We are considering these options through our 12-week consultation which was published on Monday 29 April and will close on Monday 22 July at 11:59pm. Further analysis of these options will consider potential impacts on claimants with different health conditions.”

Ms Davies continued: “There will be no immediate changes to PIP, or to health assessments. All scheduled PIP assessments and payments will proceed as normal, and claimants should continue to engage as usual and provide any necessary information or updates regarding their circumstances.”

The DWP Minister’s response to NHS support relates to NHS England, as health services are devolved.

She said: “The Government is committed to continuing to expand and transform NHS mental health care so that more people can access the support they need.

“The NHS forecasts that, between 2018/19 and 2023/24, spending on mental health services has increased by £4.7 billion in cash terms, compared to the target of £3.4 billion set out at the time of the NHS Long Term Plan. Of the key mental health commitments for the first 5-year period of the Plan, over half have been met, are on track to be met, or have exceeded their original target.”

Ms Davies also encouraged everyone to respond to the consultation - which can be found here - so that the DWP is “able to hear from as many disabled people, people with health conditions, their representatives, and local stakeholders as possible on these important issues”.

Following the annual uprating on April 8, a successful claim for PIP or Adult Disability Payment (ADP) for those living in Scotland, is now worth between £28.70 and £184.30 each week in additional financial support. As the benefit is paid every four weeks, this amounts to between £114.80 and £737.20 every payment period.

However, proposed alternatives in the ‘Modernising support for independent living: the health and disability Green Paper’ outline a move away from a fixed monthly cash transfer system, which includes vouchers, a receipts system, one-off grants and making purchases for products or services through a catalogue scheme.

Alternatives to regular cash payments

The Green Paper explains that if DWP were to consider other ways of supporting people with disabilities and long-term health conditions - apart from providing regular cash payments - it could continue to contribute to people’s extra costs through alternative models.

These could include:

  • Catalogue/ shop scheme: in this kind of scheme, there would be an approved list from which disabled people could choose items at reduced or no cost. This would likely work better for equipment and aids rather than for services.

  • Voucher scheme: in this kind of scheme, disabled people could receive vouchers to contribute towards specific costs. It could work for both equipment/aids and for services.

  • A receipt-based system: this would involve claimants buying aids, appliances, or services themselves, and then providing proof of their purchase to claim back a contribution towards the cost. This could work in a similar way to Access to Work, which provides grants for equipment, adaptations, and other costs to help disabled people to start and stay in work.

  • One-off grants: these could contribute towards specific, significant costs such as for home adaptations or expensive equipment. It could involve a person supplying medical evidence of their condition to demonstrate the need for equipment or adaptations.

The consultation accompanying the Green Paper aims to determine whether these alternative models could help people with the extra costs of their disability or health condition.

Other forms of support could include health care, social services care provision and respite, which it states are also important to help people to realise their full potential and live independently.

“We would like to understand whether some people receiving PIP who have lower, or no extra costs, may have better outcomes from improved access to treatment and support than from a cash payment,” it adds.

The consultation also aims to find out whether there are specific groups of people who have a need of a greater level of support than they currently receive, and whether this support should be financial or take a different form, such as improved access to healthcare - such as mental health provision or physiotherapy - or enhanced local authority support.

You can read the full Green Paper and complete the online consultation on GOV.UK here.

The consultation will be open until July 23, 2024.

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