DWP rule change for PIP claimants could see £5,600 payment replaced with vouchers

Disabled and long-term sick people could miss out on more than £5,600 annually in government financial aid under new proposals.

The strategy laid out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) suggests eliminating cash handouts for disabled people and those chronically ill, replacing them with vouchers only usable in particular stores for specific items.

This change would eradicate entirely the personal independence aspect of PIP, a benefit scheme engineered by the Tories in 2012 to assist 'disabled people to lead independent and active lives'.

However, after lambasting PIP in a recent talk at the Centre for Social Justice last week, the Prime Minister's comments have caused the benefit to be seen as more of a payment for the 'extra costs' associated with disability rather than a resource for fostering independence. As a result, it could become restricted to a single payout for accessibility devices.

READ: DWP to change PIP rules in crackdown on 'benefit cheats' - how it will affect you The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed it is set to overhaul Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments

READ: DWP benefit that few know about leaves gran £4k a year better off Yvonne Bailey, 78, says it has made a 'huge difference' to her life

In the introduction to this potentially influential green paper, Mel Stride, Work and Pensions Secretary, stated that this publication would 'open a new chapter in the next generation of welfare reforms'.

The surge in political discourse regarding state assistance for the 3.3 million disabled and sick individuals in the UK is attributed to the escalating benefits bill the government faces, with a significant increase in the number of people eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) since the pandemic, reports the Manchester Evening News.

Mel Stride MP said: "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 benefit system can best support people to live full and independent lives."

He expressed his concerns about the current system's viability, noting: "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, 23/24 to 28/29). There are now over 33,000 new awards for PIP per month compared to 17,000 before the pandemic."

The DWP has suggested alternatives to the slightly more than £100 per week received by disabled individuals through PIP, including an expense-style receipt system where costs for necessary equipment can be reclaimed from the government, and one-off grants for home modifications or costly equipment.

Disability Rights UK, in their response to the green paper, highlighted the emotional distress caused by the current welfare system, stating: "The government is aware of the mental anguish our threadbare welfare system causes.

"Coroners have warned Mel Stride that the system can worsen symptoms of mental illness after a man whose 'anxiety was exacerbated by his application for Universal Credit' took his own life. The number of secret reviews into the deaths of benefit claimants carried out by the DWP has also more than doubled over the past three years.

"Rather than focusing on blaming us, it is the policies of the DWP that are not working. Their punishing approach, which is obsessed with austerity, sanctions and conditionality, has fuelled increases in disability and sickness by under-resourcing not just the social security system but also health services, social care, education, housing and transport, excluding us from opportunities and driving us into poverty.

"The social security system should be an essential public service that ensures everyone has access to the right support when they need it. But after years of dire cuts and reforms, it has been torn apart. We will not hold our breath to see England's political parties push back against the tide of misinformation, demonisation and disablism that this government and its media outriders launder."

The paper, titled 'Modernising support for independent living: the health and disability green paper' is now open to public consultation, with anyone affected encouraged to take part in the consultation. You can find it here.

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