The Government has announced it will look again at all Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims to see if they are entitled to more support. This means 1.6 million PIP cases will be reviewed.
The decision comes after changes the Government made to the PIP rules last year were challenged by the High Court. These changes made it harder for people experiencing mental health problems to be eligible for PIP.
What does this review mean for me?
If you currently claim PIP, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) says:
- it will directly contact and pay back anyone affected by the new rules
- you won't need to write to them to get the correct award
- you won't have to undergo a face-to-face assessment, though the DWP may contact you or your doctor if they need more information after their initial review
If you applied for PIP in the past and were rejected, they'll also review this decision in light of the new rule. You don't need to get in touch with them for this to happen
Judge's PIP decision upheld
Last Spring the Government introduced new rules to part of the PIP assessment. The new rules changed how the impact of mental health difficulties on getting out and about was considered.
These rules may also have meant some people with MS may not have received as many points in the PIP assessment if mental health or cognitive difficulties affected how they get out and about.
Last December a woman with mental health difficulties took the Government to court over these new rules. The judge found in her favour, saying the rules discriminated against people who experience “overwhelming psychological distress”.
Earlier this month the Government confirmed it would accept the judge’s ruling and agreed to reverse the new rules. This means they need to look at PIP cases again to see if the change means people, including those with MS, are entitled to more support.
We've got some questions for the Government
We know one in three people with MS are turned down for PIP the first time they apply. We need to know how many were turned down because of the previous rules, and how this injustice will be addressed as soon as possible.
We’re also calling for a clear and speedy timetable for reviews for people who may be entitled to higher payments. By the Government's own admission, every week that goes by is another week they're knowingly underpaying people with MS. This needs to change urgently.
And we need a cast iron guarantee that no one will lose out when their claim is reviewed.
We're pushing for answers and will keep you updated.