DWP PIP overhaul: 10 key costs that could decide if monthly payments stop

-Credit: (Image: Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel)
-Credit: (Image: Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel)

Proposals to overhaul PIP which could see monthly cash payments scrapped will examine the specific extra costs that recipients say they need the benefit to cover. Almost 3.5 million people claim Personal Independence Payment - the main disability benefit for those of working age.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride says the system is "creaking under the weight" of unprecedented demand. The Department for Work and Pensions said it was now approving 33,000 new awards for PIP each month.

That's more than double the rate before the Covid pandemic and is expected to cost the taxpayer £28 billion a year by 2028/29, which is twice the expenditure in 2019, the Government said. Reforms of PIP could see the monthly payments - up to a maximum of £737 - phased out and replaced with vouchers to cover the costs of treatment, therapy and disability appliances.

Other suggestions include one-off grants for equipment or sending out shopping catalogues for people to choose the items they need because of their medical issues. The Department for Work and Pensions has a consultation on the changes running until July 23, asking claimants, campaigners and other interested parties what they think of the proposals and how PIP could be updated to meet today's needs, reports Birmingham Live.

As part of that, it asks which extra costs incurred by disabled people are most important for a new scheme to address. The 10 different costs listed are:

  • Equipment and aids

  • Medications and medical products

  • Personal assistance (costs arising from hired physical and/or emotional support within and outside the home, e.g., help with household tasks or assistance with transportation)

  • Health and personal care (including physical therapies, talking therapies, massages, etc. Also includes greater spending on personal hygiene or appearance)

  • Extra transport costs (from reliance on taxis or accessible taxis, hospital parking fees, vehicle adaptations, etc.)

  • Additional energy and utility costs arising from disability or health condition (including digital access)

  • Additional food costs arising from disability or health condition

  • Additional spending on clothing, footwear, and bedding items arising from disability or health condition

  • Higher costs of insurance

  • Additional housing costs arising from disability or health condition, including home adaptation costs

Mims Davies, DWP Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, said: "We encourage everyone to respond to the consultation which can be found here so that we are able to hear from as many disabled people, people with health conditions, their representatives, and local stakeholders as possible on these important issues."

At the time the Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper was presented to Parliament, Mel Stride wrote: "When PIP was introduced, the intention was that it would be a more sustainable, dynamic benefit that would provide better-targeted support to help disabled people with the extra costs arising from their disability."

A paper application form for Personal Independence Payment

"However, since the introduction of PIP, the appearance of disability and ill health in Britain has changed profoundly, and the clinical case mix has evolved in line with broader societal changes including many more people applying for disability benefits with mental health and neurodivergent conditions than when PIP was first introduced.

"With almost a quarter of the adult population (23%) reporting a disability in 2024, up from 16% in 2013, we believe that now is the time for a new conversation about how the benefits system can best support people to live full and independent lives."

He went on: "I am concerned about the sustainability of the current model. Over the coming five years, PIP spending is expected to grow by 63% (£21.6bn to £35.3bn, from 2023/2024 to 2028/2029). There are now over 33,000 new awards for PIP per month compared with 17,000 before the pandemic.

"We need to better understand how people are using these payments and whether more can be done to help those most in need to live full and independent lives. It is not clear at present that the very large scale of Government expenditure on PIP translates into support targeted where disabled people and people with health conditions need it most; nor that it is providing value to the public whose taxes make our comprehensive welfare state possible.

"I am determined to find ways of making the system work better for those with the most severe disabilities and health conditions, including through improved models of assessment, treatment and support as this consultation sets out."

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