Amber Rudd’s announcement that PIP claimants of state pension age will no longer have regular reviews has turned out to be both not entirely true and old news, Benefits and Work can reveal.
If Rudd had said that claimants of pensionable age would be reviewed less often and not usually have to have a face-to-face assessment, that would have been broadly accurate. If she had added that this change had already been largely in place since last summer, she would have been even closer to the truth.
In a written statement issued this morning and widely reported in the media, Rudd announced:
“We will improve and simplify the customer experience by no longer undertaking regular reviews of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) awards for claimants at or above State Pension age unless they tell us their needs have changed.”
However, a DWP press release on the .Gov website tells a slightly different story:
“Around 270,000 people receiving Personal Independence Payment (PIP) who have reached State Pension age will no longer have their awards regularly reviewed, instead moving to a light touch review every 10 years.”
Every ten years may not be frequent, but it does appear to be regular.
What is more, the 10 year “light touch” review process was announced by Minister for Disabled People, Sarah Newton as long ago as last June, before Rudd became work and pensions secretary.
And back in January of this year we published guidance for decision makers which has been in place since last August. The guidance makes it clear that most claimants of pensionable age should be subject to the 10 year light touch review:
“On-going awards for claimants can be reached in one of two ways:
“following advice from the AP that no review is required and the claimant’s restrictions on Daily Living/ and or Mobility are stable and unlikely to change significantly or they have very high levels of needs which will only deteriorate.
“and where the claimant is awarded enhanced/enhanced and their needs are not going to improve or would only deteriorate.
“Note: You may also consider an enhanced daily living award alone where the claimant is State Pension Age or over and has either not been awarded the mobility component or has been awarded the mobility component at the standard rate and their mobility needs are not going to improve.”
In other words, most pensioners who get an enhanced award of the daily living component or whose needs are stable were already covered by the light touch review system.
So, it’s a little surprising that Rudd claimed all the credit today when she announced:
“I want to change the landscape for disabled people in Britain.
“Progress has been made, but we need to do more to close the gap between our intentions and disabled people’s experiences.
“The changes I am setting out today, including stopping unnecessary reassessments for disabled pensioners, are a step forward in improving quality of life for the UK’s 14 million disabled people.”