From education to employment

Unnecessary disability reassessments for disabled pensioners to be phased out

The first step in scrapping unnecessary reassessments for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for pensioners starts on Friday (31 May).

Work and Pensions Secretary of State Amber Rudd announced in March that people receiving PIP who have reached State Pension age will no longer have their awards regularly reviewed, instead moving to a light touch review at 10 years. Nearly 290,000 people of State Pension age are in receipt of PIP.

From Friday, new claimants to PIP whose review would have been scheduled after they had reached State Pension age will receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at 10 years.

Work and Pensions Secretary of State Amber Rudd said:

I have set out a number of initiatives to improve the quality of life for disabled people; to level the terrain and smooth their path.

Stopping unnecessary PIP reviews for people over State Pension age is a positive change. It applies a common-sense approach to treating those whose conditions are unlikely to change, and we want to introduce it as quickly as possible for those who will benefit from it.

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said:

We are determined to improve our support for disabled people, and stopping needless PIP reviews for pensioners is the right thing to do.

This step means new claimants to PIP who reach State Pension age before their review is due won’t have one unless they tell us their needs have changed, and the next step is to bring this in for all pensioners.

Applying this change to new claimants is the first step and it will be extended to existing PIP claimants above State Pension age in the coming months.

This change was part of a wider package of measures announced by Amber Rudd, signalling a shift in the government’s support for disabled people.

Other improvements include combining the separate assessment processes for PIP, Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit into one integrated service from 2021.

The integrated service will simplify the assessment process for millions of people claiming health related benefits, reducing the need to submit information multiple times and for some people reducing the number of face-to-face assessments.

A small-scale test to explore the viability of a single assessment for Work Capability Assessments and PIP assessments will also be undertaken.

The government will also work with stakeholders to understand how to help people submit the right evidence with their claim at the outset so that fewer people have to take their case to Tribunal.  

Read the Secretary of State’s speech Closing the gap between intention and experience.

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Published 29 May 2019

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