Thank you for contacting me about disability benefit assessments.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) uses assessments to help determine entitlement for a number of benefits, including Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and, for those claiming because they have a disability or health condition that impacts their capability for work, Universal Credit (UC).
Landmark reforms to the benefits system set out in the Health and Disability White Paper, “Transforming Support”, will change the emphasis from what people cannot do to what they can by legislating to abolish the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) so that in future years there is only one functional health and disability assessment – the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment.
PIP helps with the extra costs of a disability or long-term health condition. The PIP assessment will also be improved by changes announced in the White Paper, including by continuing to test the introduction of a Severe Disability Group for those with the most severe health conditions, so they do not need to complete a detailed application form or go through an assessment.
The length of a PIP award is based on an individual’s circumstances and can vary from nine months to an ongoing award with a light touch review at the 10-year point. People who receive the highest level of support and whose needs will not improve – as well as most people over State Pension age – receive this ongoing award.
The Health and Disability White Paper sets out a suite of measures to improve the existing PIP assessment, including:
- Transform the entire Personal Independence Payment (PIP) service, from finding out about benefits through to decisions, eligibility and payments, delivering a new, more user-friendly service built around people’s needs.
- Continue to invest in developing the skills of assessors. DWP has begun testing matching a person’s primary health condition to a specialist assessor. As part of this, assessors will take part in training to specialise in the functional impacts of specific health conditions.
- Make Employment and Health Discussions (EHD) more people-focused by homing in on health, personal, occupational and societal factors affecting the person. DWP started an initial small-scale test of the EHD in May 2022, which will assess how well this works.
- Test sharing health assessment reports with people making the claim before a decision is made, offering them the opportunity to clarify evidence so that we can make the right decision as early as possible.
More information on the Health and Disability White Paper can be found here:
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.