DWP: Pip, ESA and other disability benefits could merge under new proposals

Ministers are considering plans to shake up the benefit system for disabled claimants, reports suggest.

As first reported by the Mirror, proposals to create a “one-time payment” were outlined in a green paper published this summer. “In the future, we may be looking to create a unique new advantage,” the DWP says in the paper. “It could both support people with disabilities and people with health problems with low income and at additional costs.

“Alternatively, a new benefit could have different priorities or set of goals than our current system. There could be more emphasis on supporting people with their additional costs, or on helping people find and keep a job. . “

READ MORE: Universal credit cuts leaves of panicked mom wondering, “How am I going to feed my child this winter?”

Currently, disability benefits are split between Personal Independence Payment (Pip) and its predecessor, Disabled Living Allowance and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and its replacement in universal credit.

Pip and DLA help people with any additional living expenses they incur due to illness or disability, such as equipment or healthcare needs. ESA and Universal Credit, on the other hand, provide funds to help people with disabilities or chronically ill keep their jobs.

While any attempt to merge these four separate benefits into one health or disability benefit could help simplify a complicated and cumbersome set of claims, it could raise fears of further cuts, following the recent £ 20 cut. per week of universal credit.

DLA and Pip are not means tested, which means that the amount awarded to the applicant does not depend on their financial situation. The ESA and universal credit, on the other hand, are means tested. The DWP did not say whether its proposed sole replacement would be means tested.

Work and Pensions Secretary and Conservative MP Therese Coffey said this month she was “not aware” of any plans to cut PIP, but has not ruled out merging benefits.

She told a Conservative conference “I don’t think we are considering” merging the non-means-tested Pip with universal means-tested credit, and reform would not be “just trying to forcibly combine different advantages “.

However, she added: “Everything is on the table, I think the best way to put it, because the green paper is quite broad and we want to focus on real innovative thinking.

The DWP Green Paper said: “People who are on PIP and apply for either ESA credit or universal credit with a medical condition currently go through two separate application and assessment processes. This means people have to go through two separate application and assessment processes. sometimes the impression that the same information is requested twice. The different The objectives of separate benefits are not always clear to the people claiming them. Some people told us that having to go through two separate processes can be confusing and of difficulty.

“People told us there needs to be a simpler application and assessment process. Some people thought that having just one health and disability benefit would help achieve this goal. Other people worried about all their financial support based on the outcome of an assessment.

“Introducing a single assessment in the current system would not be beneficial. The benefits have been designed separately and each assessment takes different criteria into account. “

The Green Paper adds: “If we were to introduce a new single benefit, depending on its design and objectives, it might be possible to use a single assessment. Alternatively, we could perhaps simplify access to this new service in another way. “

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About Antoine L. Cassell

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