Tories make disability benefits climbdown as they change reassessment rules – but campaigners warn it’s not enough
Tory ministers today announced they will shake up disability benefit test rules in an official climbdown.
More people on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will be able to wait 10 years before they are re-assessed, officials pledged.
And when that re-assessment does come, it will be a ‘light touch’ review, the government said.
Ministers made the decision after bowing to pressure from charities.
Those charities welcomed the shake-up for PIP claimants, some of whom have to suffer reassessment every year, as a “victory for common sense”.
But they also warned today’s announcement is not enough – because it will by no means apply to all PIP claimants.
Campaigners warned more must be done to stop people facing the “needless and stressful” re-tests for their benefits.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has also been unable to say how many people will benefit from the change – because the policy is not finished yet.
Detailed guidance will only be issued to staff later this summer.
DWP guidance so far claims the 10-year policy will apply to people on the highest level of PIP, with severe or progressive conditions that will not improve.
But DWP sources cautioned against coming up with a number of people affected because any help could vary from one case to another.
Parkinson’s UK estimated the shake-up will only help around half of people with Parkinson’s who claim PIP.
The charity’s campaigning chief Laura Cockram branded today’s announcement “a piecemeal solution for a broken system”.
She added: “The assessment process is simply not fit for purpose, and does not recognise the reality of living with long-term, progressive conditions.
“PIP can offer a vital lifeline; however, people with Parkinson’s can find the assessment process humiliating and stressful, with assessor’s ignorance of Parkinson’s commonplace.
“This is a step in the right direction but far more fundamental changes are needed.”
Simon Hopkins, chief executive of anti-poverty charity Turn2us, said: “We welcome the news that the DWP has listened to the organisations and individuals raising this issue and are changing policy as a result.
“However, this solution won’t fix all the issues we have seen with PIP.”
James Taylor, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at disability charity Scope, said: “Today’s announcement is a victory for common sense, but it still doesn’t address the root of the problem with Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
“Unnecessary reassessments put extra strain on disabled people’s lives, who rely on financial support to help meet some of the additional costs of disability.
“The Government must now overhaul the PIP assessment so it accurately identifies these extra costs and works for disabled people, not against them.”
Announcing the move, Disabilities Minister Sarah Newton said: “We’re absolutely determined to ensure people get the right support that they need to live better, more comfortable lives.
“PIP is a needs-based benefit that takes into consideration people’s individual, and sometimes quite complicated circumstances.
“We’ve listened to feedback from organisations and the public, and this common-sense change will ensure that the right protections are in place while minimising any unnecessary stress or bureaucracy.”
Read the full article online: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tories-make-disability-benefits-climbdown-12737419
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Tories make disability benefits climbdown as they change reassessment rules – but campaigners warn it’s not enough - 20 Jun 2018
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