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Threats to PIP system in Government Green Paper

Photograph of the Department for Work and Pensions sign outside of its Whitehall office

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) recently released a Green Paper proposing significant changes to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) system. As a community of Disabled people and allies, it is crucial for us to understand these proposals, their potential impact, and how we can collectively respond to ensure our voices are heard.

Understanding PIP and the Green Paper

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit designed to help Disabled people with the extra costs of living independently. It replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and is vital for those who need assistance with daily living or mobility.

The Green Paper is a consultative document outlining various policy options the Government is considering, including controversial suggestions that could drastically change how PIP operates. Among these, the DWP has proposed replacing PIP with a catalogue or shop system, raising serious concerns about access and equity.

Key Concerns with the Green Paper Proposals

1.Access and Eligibility:

The Green Paper suggests that some claimants should receive PIP without an assessment, based on medical evidence alone. While this may simplify the process for some, it risks excluding those without formal diagnoses, further burdening the NHS with additional administrative tasks.

2.Redefining Needs and Support:

The paper implies that not all needs can be met, asking claimants to rank the importance of basic necessities like food, heating, and medication. This approach is utterly dehumanizing and undermines the comprehensive support Disabled people need to live independently.

3.Alternative Support Mechanisms:

Proposals include moving to a catalogue/shop system, a voucher scheme, or a receipt-based system. These alternatives could limit the flexibility and dignity of cash payments, making it harder for Disabled people to manage their finances and meet their unique needs.

4.Impact on NHS and Local Authorities:

The Green Paper suggests shifting some PIP responsibilities to the NHS and local authorities, which are already overstretched. This move could reduce the quality and accessibility of support services, leaving many without the help they need.

Our Stance and Call to Action

At WECIL, we strongly oppose these proposed changes and reject the premise of a consultation that asks Disabled people to rank in order of importance being able to eat, heat their home, or get medication. The Green Paper appears to be a strategy to reduce the number of people receiving PIP, thereby cutting costs at the expense of Disabled people’s well-being. The UK already has one of the least generous welfare systems in Western Europe, and further cuts will exacerbate the challenges Disabled people face.

We encourage WECIL members and allies to participate in the consultation process and voice their concerns. It is essential to reject the premise of this consultation, which prioritizes cost-cutting over the rights and needs of Disabled people.

How to Participate

You can download the full Green Paper titled “Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper” here.

You can submit your response via an online form here, or email your response to [email protected].

The consultation closes on 22 July 2024. 

Disability Rights UK have created a Personal Independence Paper Green Paper Explainer document and a template response that you can adapt and use. Both are available here.

The letter WECIL wrote in response is available here.

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