We have worked collaboratively along with members of the Disability Benefits Consortium to write a letter to Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Disabled People, raising concerns about rule changes to Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
The open letters reads:
We, the undersigned, as national organisations representing disabled people, are deeply concerned by imminent changes to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which will leave at least 160,000 disabled people and those with long-term conditions without vital financial support.
The decision to amend PIP following Upper Tribunal judgments means that disabled people face losing £3.7 billion by 2022. We believe this undermines the principle of the PIP assessment and its ability to fairly provide financial support, regardless of impairment or condition.
PIP helps to cover essential and unavoidable extra costs faced by disabled people. Research by Scope shows that disabled people spend an average of £550 a month on disability related expenditure, including increased energy bills, specialist equipment and insurance. Those with mental health issues, learning disabilities and autism face just as severe barriers and costs as those with other impairments – these changes fail to acknowledge this.
We are also worried that the full scale and impact of these changes will not be understood before they come into effect. The Impact Analysis acknowledges a ‘significant risk that the numbers affected could be much higher’ than currently estimated.
Our helpline and advice services have been inundated by calls about PIP since it was introduced. In far too many cases we hear that the system is continuing to fail people. The confusion and concern caused by these changes highlights the need for the system to be urgently improved. It must work for disabled people and accurately assess the support they need.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you further.
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