Martin Lewis issues message over proposed DWP PIP reforms and says 'forget it'

Martin Lewis has issued guidance for those struggling with proposed reforms -Credit:ITV
Martin Lewis has issued guidance for those struggling with proposed reforms -Credit:ITV

Martin Lewis has issued an urgent message for anyone concerned over proposed welfare reforms that could affect people with mental health problems.

It comes after Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride announced the government's plans to overhaul the way disability benefits operate. One of the key proposals suggested taking cash benefits away from certain people claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefits and replacing it with alternatives.

The proposals saw criticism from organisations and certain charities. However, it also brought on a wave of concerns from those who could be directly affected by the proposals.

Read more: People with depression and anxiety 'to lose sickness benefits in welfare reforms'

Despite this, Martin tried to quell people's fears. In his latest podcast, he explained: "I got a lot of messages from people, especially with depression and anxiety, who were catastrophising about the announcement the government has put out.

"And this type of debate is giving attention to create political news... but we can't forget that that has a real human impact and what it did in some ways is it has terrified people who are clearly prone to being terrified, they have depression and anxiety, in many cases clinical depression and anxiety, which means you are more prone to worry about things...

"So the message I put out after that was pretty simple, is that what I wanted to say to those people who are worried or panicked about this government discussion on possible benefit changes is nothing has happened. Nothing has happened, this is an early stage consultation Green Paper, these things do not happen quickly, this is a general election year, so there's a question whether it will happen at all.

"So for those who are worried about this, and I've had people who told me they had to increase their medication on the back of it, people who tell me they haven't been sleeping on the back of these announcements, I know it's easy for me to say and I know it's hard to do, but for the moment, my advice if you're worried about it - forget it."

The three key changes included in the Green Paper are:

  • changing PIP eligibility criteria to better reflect how conditions affect a claimant’s daily life;

  • making the PIP assessment more closely linked to someone’s condition, including removing assessments entirely for some conditions supported by medical evidence;

  • moving away from a fixed cash benefit for some conditions, providing either one-off grants for specific costs such as home adaptation, or ensuring access to “alternative means of support”.

The Government hopes the overall impact will be to move to a system where PIP is more geared towards covering the actual extra costs faced by people with disabilities. The consultation period will run for 12 weeks, closing on July 23.