Money Wellness
illustrated image of disabled people. Change to disability payments. PIP conditions. How do I apply for PIP. Milder mental health conditions not to be covered by PIP
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calendar icon30 Apr 2024

A proposed overhaul of PIP payments will affect millions and lead to poverty

A proposed overhaul of PIP payments will affect millions and lead to poverty

The government has revealed plans to reform the disability benefits system, with the mentally ill set to lose out. Find out what the changes could mean for you

The government is set to publish its plans today on how it proposes to change personalised independence payments (PIP), with a move away from offering financial support towards a more ‘tailored approach’.

The Modernising Support Green Paper will look to find an approach that focuses support on those with the greatest needs and extra costs.   

In practical terms, this could see the eligibility criteria for PIP changing radically, with fewer people being able to claim for milder conditions.

PIP assessments could also end for people suffering from long-term health conditions or disabilities, including those with terminal illnesses. According to the government, this would ‘reduce bureaucracy and make life easier for those most in need of support’.

Controversially, other proposed changes include replacing financial support with one-off grants and vouchers, or refunding people after they have paid out for the equipment, aids, appliances, or services they need. Some may even be offered treatment instead of monthly cash payments.

Disability charities have condemned the proposals. James Taylor, executive director of strategy at Scope said: “It’s hard to have any faith that this consultation is about anything other than cutting the benefits bill, no matter the impact.”

Sebrina McCullough, our director of external relations, added: “23% of the people we help claim disability or incapacity support. Many of these people are vulnerable, already in debt, and have higher living costs to meet. Others tell us they’re keen to return to work but can’t because they’re on long waiting lists waiting for treatment, which is forcing them into financial crisis. We’re concerned that these proposals will result in poverty for millions of people.” 

Today’s consultation launch in the House of Commons follows on from Mel Stride, secretary of state for work and pensions, comments in The Times newspaper, where he suggested the changes would mean people with ‘milder mental health conditions’ would no longer receive financial help.

He added the system should not be paying people to deal with the ‘ordinary difficulties of life’ and suggested that many voters ‘deep down’ agreed with him.

Prime Minster Rishi Sunak echoed these comments in a speech earlier in the month, saying ‘people with less severe mental health conditions should be expected to engage with the world of work.’

In the past five years, the proportion of people receiving the highest rate of PIP has increased from 25% to 36%. And many more people being awarded PIP now have mental health conditions than when it was first introduced.

What is PIP?

Introduced in 2013, personal independence payments are one of several ways people can get money to help with disability.

It is different from incapacity benefit, which is paid to those who are too ill to work.

Instead, it provides help with the extra living costs that come with having a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability.

How many people claim PIP?

Around 2.6 million people of working age currently receive PIP, with 33,000 new awards each month – a figure that has doubled since before the pandemic.

Government spending on PIP has increased by 110% since 2019, with the benefit expected to cost the taxpayer £28 billion by 2028/29.

Who is eligible for PIP?

You can claim personal independence payment if you:  

  • Are over 16
  • Are under state pension age (66)
  • Have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
  • Have difficulty doing everyday tasks or getting around
  • Expect your difficulties to last for at least 12 months

Difficulties can include:

  • Preparing or eating food
  • Washing, bathing and using the toilet
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Reading and communicating
  • Managing your medicines or treatments
  • Making decisions about money
  • Engaging with other people

You can claim PIP alongside other benefits, except the armed forces independence payment.

What conditions qualify for PIP payments?

You can get a PIP award for more than 500 conditions. Most fall under the following 19 categories:

  • Haematological disease
  • Infectious disease
  • Malignant disease
  • Psychiatric disease
  • Neurological disease
  • Visual disease
  • Hearing disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Diseases of the liver, gallbladder, and biliary tract
  • Skin disease
  • Musculoskeletal disease (general)
  • Musculoskeletal disease (regional)
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Genitourinary disease
  • Endocrine disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Multisystem and extremes of age
  • Diseases of the immune system

How much PIP will I get?

PIP is made up of two elements – mobility and daily living.

How much you receive will depend on your condition and how much support you need.

The weekly rate for the mobility part of PIP is either £26.90 or £71.

The living part of PIP is either £68.10 or £101.75.

The maximum you can receive from claiming both elements is £172.75 a week.

A doctor or health professional will assess you to decide how much support you need.

How do I claim PIP?

Complete our free online benefits calculator to see if you are eligible for PIP.

Or apply for PIP payments by visiting the Gov.UK website.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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