DWP PIP payments could be stopped for more than one million people under new plans

More than 2 million legacy benefits claimants were waiting on this court decision
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Under new plans to reform the DWP benefit, PIP payments could cease for over a million people.

The UK Government's welfare reform proposals could see Personal Independence Payments (PIP), worth up to £737.20 every four weeks, stopped and replaced with talking therapies for more than one million individuals with mental health conditions.

Disability charity Scope expressed surprise at the extent of the proposed changes to PIP, while the Resolution Foundation cautioned that any significant reform will also impact those with physical disabilities. On Friday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that the current expenditure on benefits for working-age individuals with a disability or health condition is £69bn - "more than our entire schools budget; more than our transport budget; more than our policing".

He further noted that if no alterations are made, PIP spending is projected to increase by over 50 per cent in the next four years. Nearly 3.5 million people across Great Britain, including almost 219,000 claimants residing in Scotland, currently receive PIP - with 37 per cent of that total figure (1.3m) claiming for psychiatric disorders such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

PIP offers additional financial assistance for adults with a disability, long-term illness, or physical or mental health condition who require help with daily tasks or mobility.


The latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reveal that as of January 2024, a specific number of individuals were receiving Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Following the annual uprating earlier this month, a successful claim for PIP or Adult Disability Payment (ADP) for those residing in Scotland, now provides between £28.70 and £184.30 each week in additional financial support. As the benefit is paid every four weeks, this equates to between £114.80 and £737.20 per payment period.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak expressed concerns about potential misuse of this system. He argued the need to "look again" at the PIP benefit, noting that since 2019, the number of people claiming PIP citing anxiety or depression as their main condition has doubled.

He added it's "not clear they have the same degree of increased living costs as those with physical conditions".

A consultation on PIP will be published in the coming days. This will explore changes to the eligibility criteria, assessment process and types of support that can be offered so the system is better targeted towards individual needs and more closely linked to a person's condition rather than the current "one size fits all" approach.

The Prime Minister has announced plans to overhaul the disability benefits system, aiming for a fairer, more compassionate approach that remains sustainable. The upcoming consultation will explore alternatives to cash payments, such as treatments or service access, which may lead to improved outcomes, especially for those with less severe health conditions that are well-managed.

The review will also look into whether individuals with mental health issues might benefit more from services like talking therapies or respite care instead of financial support through disability benefits.

As of the end of January 2024, the latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) indicate a specific number of people receiving Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for 'Psychiatric disorders'. Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride commented: "I believe our welfare system is about far more than benefit payments; it is about changing lives for the better. That is why we're bringing forward the next generation of welfare reforms. We've already overhauled the outdated benefit system by introducing Universal Credit, and now we are building a new welfare settlement for Britain - one where no one gets left behind."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has unveiled welfare reforms designed to modernise support for those in need, improve the system's value for taxpayers, and encourage people to find work rather than remain on benefits.

Scope, a disability charity, criticised the government's proposal to "slash disabled people's income by hitting PIP" during a cost of living crisis, calling the idea "horrific". The Resolution Foundation think tank noted that the main announcement in Sunak's speech was the PIP consultation. While acknowledging the need for reform due to rising costs, the foundation argued that Sunak had presented a "problem statement rather than a plan".

The Resolution Foundation highlighted the lack of a concrete plan to address the issue, stating: "While the speech set out the problem rising ill-health is creating for the Treasury, it did not offer a plan for addressing it, nor address any of the many difficulties involved in doing so. For example, while the Prime Minister made the case for reform on the basis of rising numbers of people with mental ill-health claiming benefits, any major reforms will also impact those with physical disabilities too."

The foundation emphasised the financial impact of disability reforms on families, adding that "people with disabilities are among the poorest in society, with one in three adults in the poorest tenth of the population having a disability". Louise Murphy, a senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, stated: "Rising economic inactivity, and especially rising inactivity due to long-term sickness, is one of the biggest economic challenges Britain faces in the 2020s."

"Not only is it reducing employment and growth, and increasing public spending, it is harming the living standards of those who are too ill to work. But the Prime Minister today has set out a problem statement rather than a plan, particularly when it comes to proposals to overhaul our main disability benefit. This may reflect the very challenging nature of disability benefit reforms. But whoever wins the next election will need to go beyond rhetoric and consultations if they're to stem the rising benefit bills and help more people into work."

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