Government acknowledges problems with disability benefits and announces changes

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd has announced changes to the disability assessments in order to receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit (UC).

The announcements include:

  • A new system from 2021 to allow people to share evidence between Universal Credit (UC) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

  • A test of one ‘integrated assessment’ that would cover UC and PIP assessments.

  • A test of reducing requirements to look for work for disabled people waiting for a benefits assessment.

  • A review of the internal process used by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to review benefits decisions.

  • An end to award reviews for people receiving PIP who are above state pension age.

Ken Sanderson, Chief Officer of SECE Mind says:

"National Mind and South East and Central Essex Mind has been calling for changes to the benefits system for some time and it is good news that the Government has admitted that in their current form benefits assessment criteria do not work fairly for people with disabilities and particularly those with mental health problems. The subcontracting of assessments in an attempt to save money often results in people being asked inappropriate questions by assessors who don’t have a knowledge or understanding of mental health and this has often had an adverse affect on the state of those suffering from poor mental health.In our view, the changes announced by Amber Rudd are long overdue for the thousands of people with mental health issues but they raise some concerns about data privacy and fears about who might have access to information given to the Department for Work and Pensions. This might be a start but we believe a fundamental change is needed in the assessment system to guarantee that anyone applying for benefits is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve at these difficult times."

South East and Central Essex Mind, 112a Southchurch Road

Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 2LX

Charity registration number 1148451