DWP issues fresh update on PIP reforms for 475,000 claimants

The DWP has addressed the employment rules for PIP
The DWP has addressed the employment rules for PIP -Credit:Getty Images

A DWP minister has given a fresh update on planned reforms to PIP, after questions were raised as to its impact on the economy. The DWP is planning a shake-up to the benefit which is claimed by some 3.5million, with 70,000 new applications flooding in each month.

With the cost of PIP becoming 'unsustainable' through the number of claims being made, the Department is thinking about scrapping regular monthly payment systems, instead considering awarding vouchers and direct help like therapy and equipment.

But the proposal has sparked concerns for disabled claimants who rely on PIP payments to fund transport - including taxis and modified vehicles. The potential reform has prompted a debate pertaining to PIP's work rules, as well as the implications for the Government's recent jobs push.

Birmingham Live reports that Scottish National Party MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Drew Hendry, probed the DWP on the potential impacts of PIP changes on the UK labour market. To which, Mims Davies - who is the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, wrote: "The Department has made no assessment of the potential impact of Personal Independence Payments on trends in the number of claimants in and seeking employment.

"Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is designed to help with the extra costs arising from long-term ill health and disability, and is paid regardless of income and irrespective of whether someone is in work. PIP can also be paid in addition to other benefits the individual may receive, for example Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance, and can provide a passport to additional support through premiums or additional amounts."

A consultation will be held on the new Green Paper and will close on Monday, July 22. Those with disabilities ad long-term health conditions - as well as their representatives and local stakeholders - are being encouraged to engage with the consultation.

It comes as the DWP also crack down on Universal Credit's separate disability provision which pays extra money to those with 'limited capability for work' - by tightening up work assessments and the issuing of indefinite sick notes.