DWP issues update over concerns some may become 'ineligible' for PIP

Many fear they could miss out on vital benefits support due to changes to personal independence assessments. Their concerns have now been addressed by the Department for Work and Pensions ( DWP ), which has issued another update.

Plans to reform the benefits system, which could impact millions of disabled people, were revealed last month. Although the proposals, which come from a government green paper, are at an early stage, they could see regular personal independence payments (PIP) replaced with one-off grants or vouchers, which could be used to pay for home adaptations or appliances.

The DWP faced questions from Labour MP Imran Hussain, who queried whether an assessment had been made of the "potential impact " in proposed reforms to PIP would have on the "mental wellbeing of people who become ineligible as a result". The MP, who represents Bradford East, also asked whether there had been discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care about the “adequacy of availability of Government-funded mental health services”.

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In response, Mims Davies MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, said: "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, April 29 and will close on Monday, July 22 at 11.59pm."

Ms Davies said there would then be "further analysis of these options", which would "consider potential impacts on claimants with different health conditions". She added: “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.”

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis also spoke out last week to quell fears that any changes would be happening soon, WalesOnline reports. He said the plans were at an early stage and that "nothing has happened", adding: These things are not quick, if they happen, and this is a general election year - so whether it will happen at a question.

"This type of debate is given attention to create political news and put clear water between parties in an election year. Sadly doing that in the area of mental health, can have a real human impact, terrifying people about changes that may never happen. So if you're worried about it, while I know its easy to say and hard to do, forget it - for now it is still political hot air."