Benefits and Work has started receiving emails from readers concerned that disability benefits including PIP, DLA and AA are about to be means-tested.

Although there have been rumours about this for several weeks, the issue gained further prominence due to a question put by shadow DWP secretary of state Jonathan Ashworth to the current DWP secretary of state, Mel Stride on Monday.

Ashworth asked “Can he give a categorical assurance that in the Autumn statement he will rule out means-testing personal independence payment, carers allowance attendance allowance and disability living allowance for children.”

Stride’s response was to avoid answering the question: “The right honourable gentleman is inviting me to break with what has been a very, very long-standing and quite correct convention that when it comes to a major fiscal event, ministers simply do not provide a running commentary as to what may or may not be in that fiscal event.”

In reality that ‘long-standing’ convention was broken as recently as 19 October when Liz Truss told the House at PMQs that the triple lock for pensioners would be maintained.  However, in the same response on Monday, Stride also refused to confirm that the triple lock remained safe under Sunak.

So, at the moment, Benefits and Work can offer no reassurance to readers about what the current administration will or won’t do on 17 November.  All we can suggest is that people don’t assume the worst and instead wait for concrete information.

UPDATE 06/11
Writing about the conservatives budget plans in the Guardian on Sunday, political commentator Andrew Rawnsley quoted a senior Tory as saying “They are flying a lot of kites to see which ones attract most fire.”  

Readers who have strong feelings about the possibility of disability benefits being means-tested might want to contact their MP as a matter of urgency - especially if they are a conservative - to make sure that they are aware that this is a kite which is likely to attract a great deal of fire.

If you do email your MP, please considering posting a comment below and letting us know what you told them. It may encourage other readers to do the same.

UPDATE 15/11
A DWP minister has now said that PIP and DLA will not be means-tested

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    Liz · 1 months ago
    I have just been means tested to pay for my  home care..apparently  cause my pip and esa went up...I have to now pay 300 pound a month for  9 hours care a week
    Has anyone else had this?
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    Tariq · 8 months ago
    If people carry on voting idiotically for the Tories and THEN complain when their pip is means tested? I mean are people REALLY this, let's be charitable, "unaware"? Don't they know this is exactly what Tories will do and they'll abolish it totally the first chance they get come on??? 
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    bluejay52 · 1 years ago
    The response from my Gateshead  Labour MP   was as follows:
    Nothing,!  he did not even have the goodness to reply
    This is after fully outlining my concerns and after 1 month.
    Honestly I give up.

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    Michaela Preston · 1 years ago
    A response from my MP:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the means-testing of Personal Independence Payments. I believe it is essential for any government to provide compassionate support for the most vulnerable in our society and to provide a sufficient standard of living for them through welfare payments and other support through government services.

    It is important when people discuss the means-testing of PIP to understand that PIP is already to a degree means-tested. You must have a qualifying long-term health condition, therefore, people suffering conditions which would classify them as vulnerable such as depression may not always qualify, it is dependent on how the condition affects them. In addition, to this there are higher and lower rates for daily living support and mobility support which could add up to £8158.80 in tax-free income per year, though these different rates of high and low show that means-testing is already part of the PIP claim. The chancellor's Autumn statement addressed people's concerns with vexatious claims and benefits fraud by investing in departments responsible for investigating fraud, though it did not introduce any additional policy measures of means-testing.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. If you need any further assistance on this or any other matter please write again or call my office on 01454 617783.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Redamber · 1 years ago
    My conservative MP replied today. The response was sadly as unhelpful as I have come to expect. This is from Jack Lopresti, South Gloucestershire.

    Below a copy of his response.

    I believe it is essential for any government to provide compassionate support for the most vulnerable in our society and to provide a sufficient standard of living for them through welfare payments and other support through government services.

    It is important when people discuss the means-testing of PIP to understand that PIP is already to a degree means-tested. You must have a qualifying long-term health condition, therefore, people suffering conditions which would classify them as vulnerable such as depression may not always qualify, it is dependent on how the condition affects them. In addition, to this there are higher and lower rates for the daily living support and mobility support which could add up to £8158.80 in tax-free income per year, though these different rates of high and low show that means-testing is already part of the PIP claim. The chancellor’s Autumn statement addressed people’s concerns with vexatious claims and benefit fraud by investing in departments responsible for investigating fraud, though it did not introduce any additional policy measures of means-testing.
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    Dave · 1 years ago
    Dear Dave,
    Thank you for your email of the 9th November 2022 in respect of means-testing disability benefits; your comments upon which I have read with interest.
    The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has no plans to means-test Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
    Both DLA and PIP are intended to act as a contribution towards the extra costs that arise as a result of a long-term health condition, or disability, and have been non-means-tested since they were introduced.
    I hope that this provides you with the reassurance that you are seeking and clarifies matters.
    Once again, thank you for having taken the time to contact me and if I can ever be of any further assistance to you, then please do not hesitate to contact me again.
    With best wishes.

    Tom Pursglove

    This was the reply I received today,  by letter from Tom Pursglove , confirming that they weren’t looking to means test DLA or PIP .
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    hells36 · 1 years ago
    My Conservative MP replied today and seemed to of completely not understand my email raising concerns about PIP being means tested as this is her response

     

    I firmly believe that the welfare system should protect the most vulnerable in society. The Personal Independence Payment is assessed on the basis of the needs arising from a health condition or disability, rather than the health condition or disability itself.

    PIP assessments look at an individual's ability to carry out a series of key everyday activities which are fundamental to living an independent life, such as their ability to prepare, cook and eat food, dress and undress and make budgeting decisions. This ensures that the greatest level of support goes to those least able to carry out such activities in order to contribute towards the increased costs they are likely to incur.
    The health professionals carrying out PIP assessments have training in multiple and complex conditions and have specific guidance available to them on the effects of a range of conditions.

    I welcome the DWP’s ambition to go further, to listen and deliver reforms that are developed through close collaboration with disabled people. I know that the Government is looking to improve the assessment system further and I look forward to the Government's response to the Health and Disability Green Paper, which is expected by the end of the year.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Kind regards,

    Joy

    Joy Morrissey MP
    Member of Parliament for Beaconsfield
    Assistant Government Whip

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    Sue O"Riordan · 1 years ago
    My Conservative MP replied today to my email (after a "holding reply" from an aide. Her reply was as follows:
    Further to our previous email, I am happy to confirm that in fact that it has now been made clear there are no plans to introduce means testing to DLA nor PIP.

    Whilst feeling that it was likely that this issue was always a non-starter it is routinely the case that Treasury Ministers do not comment on upcoming fiscal statements, hence the non-response of Mel Stride. It is therefore reassuring to note the response of Tom Pursglove, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work:

    “We have no plans to means test Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
    Both DLA and PIP are intended to act as a contribution towards the extra costs that arise as a result of a long-term health condition, or disability, and have been non-means tested since they were introduced.”

    Thank you again for your raising this matter with Miriam.

    Good news but we must remain vigilant ! 
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    Scouse · 1 years ago
    This is great news for all disabled and their carers. Be ready for the next battle, the disability benefits white paper has been delayed. We must be ready for this.
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    Debbie · 1 years ago
    Ohh that’s such a relief no means testing for PIP in the latest news.
    My MP replied to my email today before this news came out. She was utterly appalled at the government having crashed the economy and considered targeting the most vulnerable people to pay for their mess through benefits cuts…she went on to assure me that she would be writing to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions making clear my opposition and my concerns. 
    She went on to thank me for taking the time to write to her on this important issue.
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    ROBERT · 1 years ago
    What a relief for many  , 3 hours ago a statement  and a firm  reply that the DWP WILL NOT BE MEANS TESTING THOSE BENEFITS  PIP etc This is welcome news to many  , but it is so nasty of them  , that people had to worry and threat for so long about this.
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      Hayley · 1 years ago
      @ROBERT Absolutely agree with you there. Emailing MP's to complain and challenge them obviously had some effect. But it was cruel the way they went about it to illicit a response.
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    Penny Smith · 1 years ago
    I have written to Alison McGovern MP for Wirral 
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      Dave scholefield · 1 years ago
      @Hayley I know how you feel , I have been so stressed 😩 I don’t think they realise the chaos they cause when they do stuff like this 🤷‍♂️ 
      I can relax now thank God 👌👌
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      Mrsdiz · 1 years ago
      @Dave scholefield Oh, thank *expletive*!
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      Hayley · 1 years ago
      @Dave scholefield No worries hopefully ppl can feel a bit more settled. I’ve been a wreck
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      Dave scholefield · 1 years ago
      @Hayley I have just followed the link you posted . This time Tom pursglove has given a definite answer to the question that had been posed 👌 
      That will certainly be a big relief to many many people myself included .
      Thanks for posting 🙏 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    KS · 1 years ago
    Just read the following on The Mirror news site;

    '
    In what’d be a bombshell move, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride did not rule out means testing some benefits including personal independence payments, carers allowance, attendance allowance, and disability living allowance for children.'

    'BUT THE MIRROR UNDERSTANDS IT'D BE UNLIKELY'
    '

    All the media speculation seems to have died down nowregarding this I really don't think this will happen as other predictions seem to be more talked about on what will be included on Thursday.

    I really hope I'm right and that it will help ease our minds  a little until Thursday!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Asbo · 1 years ago
    My Tory MP said: "Thank you for your further contact with me on this issue which I appreciate is of great concern to you.

    As I am sure you can appreciate, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on rumour and speculation. Instead, I eagerly await the Chancellor making his Autumn Statement next Thursday.

    I will bear your concerns at the forefront of mind when listening to what the Chancellor has to say and trust this Government will continue to prioritise the most vulnerable during these difficult economic times. Thank you for your further contact with me on this issue which I appreciate."
     
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    Sharon · 1 years ago
    I looked at my bank account today and it seems I am no longer entitled to disabled premium because I have a carer! My friend has been unpaid help for years, acknowledged by all as my advocate. I became ill whilst helping him out when his father died of cancer and couldn't drive 150 miles home... then got a section 21 no fault eviction, selling the property and then got a cancer diagnosis... Double Mastectomy in 10 days... My friend is now expected to be my support due to around 70 pound per week being removed... which was also used for holistic and sensitivity due to multiple intolerance to drugs etc. They did not even warn me... Just removed it. I have tried to rehome myself and without asking for updates etc, just claimed I am no longer entitled and to call when circumstances have changed! I have constantly updated them and they have not even asked what my situation is at moment... Even looking like I may be sat in a caravan after my op with the district nurse checking both drains. Did she care when I called... NO! 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Sharon · 1 years ago
      @lesley Thanks Lesley, I'll try to stay positive and as always with this kind of behaviour, try and live by my own moral code and levels of compassion for others! 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      lesley · 1 years ago
      @Sharon
      Dear Sharon,
      what a horrid time you have had of it.
      I do wish you all the best and hope that things improve for you.
      With love and thinking of you.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Nick · 1 years ago
    I've email my MP, who is a new Conservative MP for our area. I asked if if the rumours are correct and if so are they taking the easy option to fill part of the 50 billion black hole caused by one of there own by targeting the most vulnerable, the disabled and the elderly by not reintroducing the triple lock on pensions. All I've had is an automated reply inviting me to read his newsletter, which is just what he puts in the local press and repeats what has been in the national press or on the news the past week. This seems to be about all he does. 
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    lesley · 1 years ago
    Wrote to my local Conservative ward councillor.  Not heard anything yet.
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      Scouse · 1 years ago
      @lesley Need to contact your MP as councillor have nothing to do with Parliment.
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    Teresa · 1 years ago
    Can someone please tell me I looked at my dla (yes still on that one ) it says indefinitely and I'm 59 with secondary ms can they take it away
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Teresa · 1 years ago
      @GorillaWheels Thanks for your reply I just want Thursday over and know if they are going to means test us .I'm not sleeping my ms as been bad this week stress does not help . Why can't they just let us live isn't our life bad enough and why do the sick and disable always have to suffer .we are not rich but my husband's 20 hour a week job will rule me out . I said it a few days ago I will not be a burden to my darling husband let alone a financial one living like that will not be worth it I'm so down
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Scouse · 1 years ago
      @Teresa It is not so much that they take away the underling right to PIP/DLA it is more that you will not get the money/car if you have means. Examples, inheritance or savings, you or your partner are working. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      GorillaWheels · 1 years ago
      @Teresa Hi Teresa. You are in the age bracket where you will be invited to apply for PIP. When you get an invite letter to apply for PIP, if you don't apply for PIP your DLA award will then stop. Although it never says on award letters, indefinite award meant for the life of the benefit, not you. They brought out PIP years ago and I believe anyone born after April 9th 1948, will have to apply for PIP. The migration from DLA to PIP has been delayed by years due to sheer back log then COVID. I'm still on DLA, 46 years old.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Jen · 1 years ago
      @Teresa They said that my Dad’s was indefinite but he had his removed. Write to your MP anyway, it can’t do any harm.
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    Karen · 1 years ago
    I wrote to my MP
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