Documents to download

Three recent e-petitions called for changes to disability benefit assessments in the UK.

For each of these, Government responses explained current policy on disability benefit assessments, and noted recent reforms and plans for change. This debate pack provides further background on the issues raised.  

Reviews for claimants with lifelong conditions

E-petition (593296) called for an end to reviews of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) awards for people with lifelong illnesses.

The Government response noted that reassessments and reviews help to ensure benefit awards remain correct where needs change, but also pointed to improvements introduced in recent years to “avoid unnecessary reassessments”.

The debate pack explores these, including approaches used in ESA and PIP, as well plans to test a ‘Severe Disability Group’ for people unlikely ever to work in the future, who would always need extra financial support to live independently.

Proposal to end assessments and rely on medical evidence alone

E-petition (619481) called for an end to assessments for disability benefits and for claims to be considered on medical evidence alone.

The Government response stated that “assessments ensure people get the support they are entitled to” and argued that medical evidence alone is “usually insufficient to ensure that claimants get the right support”.

The central argument made for the use of assessments beyond medical evidence is that disability benefits are designed for specific purposes:

  • income replacement for those whose capability for work is affected by ill-health or disability,
  • additional costs associated with long-term ill-health or disability, and
  • compensation following a work-related accident or illness.

It is argued that whether claimants are entitled to these kinds of support will not always be evident from information provided by clinicians alone.

The debate pack includes background on the purpose of assessments, the role of medical evidence, and plans to improve plans to reform the collection and use of medical evidence as part of the DWP’s Health Transformation Programme.

Calls for a review of the PIP application process

E-petition (620692) called for a full review of the PIP application and assessment process.

The Government’s response – given in amended form on 1 November 2022 – stated that it had no plans to review the PIP application process, but that it would publish a white paper “on better meeting needs of disabled people and those with health conditions”, following a green paper published in 2021.

Transforming Support: The Health and Disability White Paper was published in March 2023. The debate pack provides background on the PIP assessment as well as changes to assessments discussed in the white paper.

Documents to download

Related posts