Millions of PIP claimants warned they are '£975 short' after DWP crackdown

New data shows disabled Personal Independent Payment recipients need an extra £975 to make ends meet. The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a green paper exploring PIP rule changes, including the end of cash payments, the introduction of a voucher or catalogue system, and a radical overhaul of eligibility and assessment criteria.

As the DWP clamps down on disabled claimants, it has been warned dsabled households need an extra £975 a month to have the same standard of living as non-disabled. Disability charity Scope warns it works out at £12,000 a year.

Amelia Peckham, disability advocate and co-founder of Cool Crutches and Walking Sticks said: “Disabled people often require additional equipment and adaptations to support their daily lives. In my experience, I suffer from a lack of circulation as a result of nerve damage and so rely on heating and hot baths to maintain comfort and functionality. This has a huge impact on bills - hot water bottles, electric blankets, heating, it all adds up.”

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She went on: “Similarly, a range of mobility equipment is often needed and small maintenance, replacement parts etc. need to be considered Anything from needing two crutches on a bad day to switching between no mobility aid, a walking stick, crutches, a wheelchair and a power chair means the amount of kit we need to ensure we can move on any given day is huge.

“All too often these costs are little but frequent and they add up. We also know disabled people earn less, struggle to find work and often are unable to work full-time. This pushes the cost onto a lower-income household and increases the time spent at home versus an office which then costs to keep warm, comfortable and mobile are significant when income isn’t.”

She said: “Transport with a disability is a minefield. London for example, has a handful of tube stations that are accessible and step-free. This means the vast majority can’t be used by someone with a mobility-related disability. This leaves buses and taxis but again, buses often aren’t an option due to timings and so taxis become essential which is a very expensive way to travel.”

Ms Peckham added: “There is almost no room for spontaneity with a disability because going for it will invariably result in a surprise that is inaccessible and causes more harm than good. It’s really difficult to quantify the actual cost of living with a disability but given the rise in inflation and cost of living, it is highly unlikely the cost of living with a disability is as low as £975.”