DWP proposes major change to how PIP is paid to 3.5 million people | Personal Finance | Finance

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is considering a radical overhaul of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) system, potentially affecting 3.5 million recipients.

The proposed shake-up could spell the end of routine monthly payments, as the DWP grapples with the “unsustainable” costs of administering the benefit.

Currently, the PIP scheme is inundated with around 70,000 new claims every month.

Under the new proposals reported by BirminghamLive, traditional cash payments might be swapped out for vouchers or grants aimed at providing specific support such as therapy services and necessary equipment.

The prospect of such changes has sparked concern among those reliant on PIP for essential travel expenses, including taxis and specially adapted vehicles, which enable them to maintain employment.

The potential reforms have stirred up discussions about the compatibility of PIP regulations with the government’s aggressive employment drive.

SNP MP Drew Hendry has challenged the DWP to clarify how these proposed changes to PIP could affect the UK’s employment landscape.

In response, Mims Davies, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, conceded in a written statement that “The Department has made no assessment of the potential impact of Personal Independence Payments on trends in the number of claimants in and seeking employment.”

“Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is designed to help with the extra costs arising from long-term ill health and disability, and is paid regardless of income and irrespective of whether someone is in work.

“PIP can also be paid in addition to other benefits the individual may receive, for example Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance, and can provide a passport to additional support through premiums or additional amounts.”

Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Neil Coyle, had previously queried about PIP and employment.

In response, Ms Davies clarified: “In March 2023, 475,000 people in receipt of PIP in England, Wales, or outside the UK were in employment in the UK, including self-employment.

“The proportion of people in receipt of PIP who are in employment was published in Modernising Support for Independent Living – The Health and Disability Green Paper.”

A consultation on the new Green Paper will end on Monday, July 22. People living with disabilities and long-term health conditions, their representatives, and local stakeholders are all invited to give their feedback.

At the same time, the DWP is tightening its grip on Universal Credit’s separate disability provision – which provides additional funds to those categorised as having ‘limited capability for work’, by more strictly enforcing work assessments and issuing sick notes.

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