The DWP has suggested replacing PIP with a catalogue or a shop in the Green Paper on personal independence payment (PIP) reform published yesterday. The department also asks people to choose whether it is more important that disabled people have money for food or money for medication. 

Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper was published yesterday and is accompanied by an online consultation survey which the DWP say they want as many disabled people and other interested parties as possible to complete (see links at the end of this article).

Different type of assessment

In the first section of the consultation, readers are asked for their view on whether some claimants with medical evidence of specific health conditions should get PIP without any assessment at all.

Your opinion is also requested on whether only claimants with “evidence or a formal diagnosis by a medical expert” should be awarded PIP.

You are then asked to explain how to prevent the requirement for a formal diagnosis from a medical expert having an impact on the NHS - because it will undoubtedly mean a great deal more demands on consultants’ time.

Changes to eligibility

In the second section the DWP want to know whether the need for aids and appliances and for prompting should score PIP points.

They also question whether someone who get a lot of low scoring descriptors should be eligible for PIP at all.

And whether any PIP activities should be removed or any new ones added.

Finally, you are asked whether the current three month qualifying period and nine month forward test should be changed.

Meeting extra costs of disability

The consultation explains that PIP contributes towards the extra costs of disability.  It asks people which are the most important needs that should addressed – suggesting that not all of them can be. 

Respondents are asked to rank in importance from 1 to 10, such items as:

  • Medications and medical products
  • Additional food costs
  • Additional energy and utility costs
  • Additional housing costs

So, people really are being asked to decide if it is more important that disabled people get their medication, eat properly or heat their homes.

The same section asks people to list the benefits and disadvantages of moving to a new system for PIP claimants, which could be:

  • A catalogue/shop scheme
  • A voucher scheme
  • A receipt based system
  • One-off grants

The consultation then goes on to ask if there are people who, instead of cash, would benefit more from improved access to support or treatment, for example:

  • respite care,
  • mental health provision
  • physiotherapy

This does raise the question as to whether benefits claimants would get different/better/faster access to things like NHS counselling and physiotherapy?  Or whether they will be pushed onto short courses provided by private sector contractors hired by the DWP?

Passing PIP costs on to the NHS and local authorities

The final section asks some very bizarre questions about NHS and local authority provision, which most people would imagine the government would be better able to answer than the average member of the public.  For example:

“Which of the following do local authorities or the NHS help with?”

  • Equipment and aids
  • Medical products
  • Personal assistance (eg. help with household tasks)
  • Health services
  • Social care

The purpose of the questions, however, is clearly to sound out how much support there would be for pushing much of the cost of PIP onto the already desperately overstretched NHS and local councils.

What this Green Paper is really about

Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper is supposed to be a Green Paper setting out serious, carefully considered proposals for reform of PIP.

Instead it is a ragbag of random, cruel and foolish ideas thrown together by the DWP to serve the political needs of the Conservative Party, without any likelihood of any of them being acted upon. 

The Green Paper is simply intended to make the current administration look tough on claimants whilst goading the opposition into speaking out against it, thereby supposedly making them look soft on welfare.

The fact that it is causing enormous distress to many disabled claimants and their carers, as is clear from the comments sections on this site and elsewhere, is of no concern to the DWP or the Conservative Party.

At Benefits and Work, we don’t believe that this Green Paper will ever form the basis of new legislation.

However, we do think it is important that readers who feel able to, do take part in the consultation. 

It’s important that whoever forms the next government understands the strength of feeling against dismantling the disability benefits system and instead concentrates on dismantling the department that was cruel enough to publish these proposals.

Take part in the consultation

You can download Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper

You can take part in the online consultation, which closes on 22 July 2024.  You are not asked to give your name or any other personal details.

Or you can email your response to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please post a comment below if you take part in the consultation, to encourage others to do the same.

Blank consultation form for you to fill in

Many people have told us that they have found it difficult or impossible to complete the consultation because you cannot save the form and come back to it later.  So we have published a text version of the form, with spaces for you to type in your answers.  You can take as long as you like to do this and save it as often as you need. 

When you have answered all the questions you can either email the document to the consultation email address or, if you prefer to stay anonymous, copy and paste your answers into the online form instead.

Download blank form

Our submission

A number of people have asked how we are responding to the consultation.  We have published a copy of our answers to the consultation which you can download if you wish.  We wouldn’t advise you to copy them, but they may help you decide how you want to answer. 

We have tried to keep our answers brief as we don’t believe people should feel they have to write hugely detailed responses to what is, in our view a bad faith consultation.

Complaint about Question 18

We are particularly disgusted by Q18 and have sent a formal complaint to the consultation email address.  We would encourage other people to complain if they are unhappy about this question. 

Our complaint is worded as follows: 

 

We wish to make a formal complaint about question 18 in the consultation related to “Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper”

The question asks:

“Which extra costs incurred by disabled people are the most important for a new scheme to address? Please rank the following options in your order of importance:”

Respondents are then required to rank 10 extra costs in order of importance. 

If a respondent doesn’t wish to answer the question, the options will remain in their default order and that will be recorded as the respondent’s choices, even though that is absolutely not the case.

For many people, ourselves included, the entire premise of the question is inappropriate:  asking people to decide whether, for example, medication, a specialised diet or energy to power medical equipment and provide additional warmth is more important.  They are all vital to life and all of equal importance.

Even if people wished to choose, their ranking might vary at different times of the year or different stages in their condition. 

In addition, even if respondents feel able to rank these items for themselves, how can they possibly make that choice on behalf of other disabled people with hugely different needs?  Yet that is what the question requires.

We consider that this question should either be removed from the consultation or, at the very least, that there should be an option to decline to answer or to rank all options equally.

As it stands, this question is clearly rigged and has no place in a genuine consultation.

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    Louise · 11 hours ago
    An absolute disgrace.  I have completed the survey and objected to Q18. A complete fishing exercise in how to save money or devolve the responsibility to local councils / nhs. The result of that would be catastrophic. Pip doesn’t cover all the additional costs of chronic illness & pain 
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    Laylamai · 2 days ago
    I found questions too hard to answer 😬😬
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      MariW · 1 days ago
      @Laylamai It is a very difficult questionnaire that requires close reading and much thought before you even begin to fill it in. And it has to be completed in one go!  Many claimants, by reason of their disability, are precluded from participation in the consultation process.
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    Anonymous · 2 days ago
    What the DWP want to do is dig disabled people even further into the ground, how demoralising I this day and age. How could we get something from this " catalogue" and have to try and get the money back, I don't think so. 
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    Stephan · 2 days ago
    Hi everyone recently i had my pip review, well actually the review was feb 23 but I have just had my medical which was face to face, I previously had lower on both, I have have fibromyalgia, and I suffer from widespread pain. I have just been awarded higher rate on both, I'm so relieved it's been so stressful. From the medical to the filling out the form. Your website has been so helpful. So thank you for everything.
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    patsy166 · 3 days ago
    I have completed the consultation form and emailed my MP. Clearly they hope we won’t bother giving them any feedback but they are wrong.
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    andrew · 3 days ago
    I think this is happening because of the government dropping the idea of digitalised money, so the benefits system has pulled out this knee jerk reaction. The very idea that they want to know exactly where the money is spent is ridiculous, its none of their business, are they doing it to anyone else like UC claimants or child benefit etc etc No they are not, they don't like people with disabilities of any kind, they have shown this time and time again, the last one was baiting disabled people into work with the promise of being supported financially for a very short time and this is despite a sharp rise in 25 yr olds being unemployed and able to work. I have cyclothymia (because the NHS think labels are bad, they re-named cyclothymia with multiple personality issues with emotional traits, ok so it doesn't sound like a sexually transmitted disease but it does sound much worse), osteoarthritis in my knees, neck and back issues and for the last year and half I've had a trapped ulna nerve in my elbow and its causing all sorts of issues, despite going to physio multiple times. I have issues going to places I don't know and it can take a while for me to get it sorted in my head....
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    MariW · 5 days ago
    Silly me for not thinking of this before now. Vouchers be digital; receipts would be scanned like a modern cheque; the catalogue would be online. This would make life even harder for claimants with various physical or intellectual disabilities. Moreover, it would intrude into all  claimants' privacy.
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      Andy W · 5 hours ago
      @MariW They want a voucher system or you claim back money you have spent up front.... Because they want to simply p*ss the disabled off knowing thousands will not bother. Who will buy a wheelchair for a couple of thousand out of their own money then try and claim it back.... God knows how long that would take to get the money back. Many thousands will not bother and many more will take their lives. I need the extra money to help subsidise my wife having to stop working to assist me more. I haven't even seen this as an option anywhere on the govt review.
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    MariW · 5 days ago
    An example of lack of awareness of the difference between PIP and out-of-work disability benefits:


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    Yankee · 5 days ago
    If they don’t give money only vouchers then nothing will be going back into the economy. Do they want to make the markets crash? Also vouchers will be cashless society.
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    Wezza · 7 days ago
    Read the questions properly they are to trick you and give them the answer they want to hear, they are against us disabled people, Please read them clearly and carefully even though it is just for practice, it will give you a better understanding on how the government and the dirty DWP work to trick us / you !
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      patsy166 · 3 days ago
      @Wezza Don’t worry I have done and given them very clear and concise answers 😂
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    MariW · 7 days ago
    I hope this message won’t hurt or offend anybody.
     
    I’d like to urge parents/ guardians of disabled children currently in receipt of DLA to participate in the consultation process regarding the “reform” of PIP for people of working age:

    Having read the Green Paper and the proposals to remove or reduce cash payments in favour of a system based on vouchers, catalogues, and receipts, I fear that disabled children currently eligible for DLA will come to dread the approach of their sixteenth birthday. The removal of cash payments and the choices that money provides could block a school leaver proceeding successfully through college or university or a very seriously disabled young adult being cared for in their family home rather than a residential care home. 
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    Kitty · 8 days ago
    Why would anyone want to help the dwp answer these questions it's there insane ideas not ours. It's like asking a condemned man to help build his own gallows. 
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      patsy166 · 3 days ago
      @MariW Exactly what I said when I responded to the consultation document and don’t forget Autistic people and those with Dementia and brain injuries 
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      patsy166 · 3 days ago
      @Kitty Exactly what we’re doing if we don’t respond because it’s giving them carte Blanche to do it anyway if we don’t respond 
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      Old Mother · 6 days ago
      @Kitty I fear this consultation is just adding legitimacy to a proposed cruel and unfair discrimination against people with disabilities. 
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      MariW · 7 days ago
      @Bern400 You are right. However, what if a claimant is blind, unable to use a keyboard, or has learning difficulties? Many disabled people are unable to participate in the consultation. I can scarcely sit in front of a screen now. Writing full and, I hope, intelligent answers was incredibly difficult.
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      Bern400 · 8 days ago
      @Kitty If disabled people don't make their voice heard on this matter, the tories will spin the narrative by claiming the consultation shows the need to restrict eligibility and remove cash payments for PIP. 
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    Bern400 · 8 days ago
    I've emailed the following letter to both my MP and to the Green Paper Consultation team.  I urge everyone on here to do the same. Cut and paste the below text and email it to: consultation.modernisingsupport@dwp.gov.uk

    Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride's sweeping and significant policy changes to disability benefits to reduce welfare spending, including withdrawing cash support for individuals with mental health conditions is a ragbag of random, cruel and foolish ideas thrown together by the DWP to serve the political needs of the Conservative Party, without any likelihood of any of them being acted upon.

    The Green Paper is simply intended to make the current administration look tough on claimants whilst goading the opposition into speaking out against it, thereby supposedly making them look soft on welfare.  The fact that it is causing enormous distress to many disabled claimants and their carers is of no concern to the DWP or the Conservative Party.

    The changes, which will particularly affect those with mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety, have been proposed as an attempt to revolutionise the benefits system. However, this amounts to nothing less than a “reckless assault” on disabled individuals, which will have a significant impact on their well-being and ability to survive financially. 

    The proposed reforms, outlined in the Green Paper, signal a departure from the existing personal independence payments (PIP) in favour of new eligibility criteria and assessments, which would seriously alter the types of support available for disabled people who receive the benefit.  It’s hard to have any faith that this consultation is about anything other than cutting the benefits bill, no matter the impact.

    Much of the worklessness issues the Prime Minister speaks about are due to our crumbling public services, poor quality jobs and increasing rates of poverty. Not because of a so-called ‘mental health culture’ that’s gone too far.  This is clearly an opportunity for the government to sound tough, but it is on the backs of people who are already facing huge challenges financially as well as with their health. 

    The reality is that most people in receipt of PIP are unable to work, with more than a third of PIP recipients in workless households unable to keep their home warm and over 40% experienced food insecurity, worse levels than other workless households, in a benefits system this government designed.  The scheme they now say isn’t working is their scheme. They designed it and put it in place and now 14 years later they say it’s not working so there’s an element of farce to it.

    This latest performative cruelty of attacking those with mental health problems may win the tories a few votes from the more rabidly right wing of the Conservative base. Still, it is unlikely that, as a government, they will ever survive to enact them because they will lose the majority of the disabled vote at the forthcoming general election. 
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      CazzieB · 5 days ago
      @Bern400 So true and infact although - without wanting to become political - Labour have been known to be tough on sanctions for disabled/unemployed folks in the past, so they could well adopt some of the proposals.
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      CazzieB · 5 days ago
      @Bern400 Thank you, well said. I have a few legitimate email addresses in the family so will be sending a copy from each of them.

      I just cannot comprehend the thinking at all behind these proposals. Are they on another planet? The NHS and local authorities are already under resourced, the care sector is also struggling for staff so where do the government (for that read 24 year old policy makers who come direct from university, where 'hardship' for them is not having enough money to fund the price of their extortionate daily fix of coffee/lunch from some trendy cafe/coffee bar in Whitehall) think that personnel are suddenly, miraculously going to be available to help people in need? 


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      Old mother · 6 days ago
      @Bern400 Well said - thank you for this. Totally agree. 
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      Bern400 · 7 days ago
      @CaroA Even though the tories will lose the forthcoming election this year, it's vital that disabled people tell labour not to even consider implementing any of these cruel and foolish proposals. 
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      CaroA · 7 days ago
      @Bern400 Thank you Bern400 beautifully written piece I just hope somebody somewhere will take some of what you've said onboard.  Thanks for copying this to us it's much appreciated. 
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    Bronc · 8 days ago
    It would be really helpful if Benefits and Work could provide some guidance to help disabled people complete this survey.
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    Bronc · 8 days ago
    Response submitted. As a community we need to encourage as many people/organizations to respond to this evil attempt to attack disabled people further.
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      patsy166 · 3 days ago
      @Bronc Disability Discrimination at its worst 
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      MariW · 6 days ago
      @Bronc In recent days, I have been shocked by the level of ignorance beyond sites such as this. Smaller disability charities haven't a clue. Ditto Citizens Advice (CAB) and The Samaritans. I've had to provide a definition of "Green Paper". I suspect from a post elsewhere that many claimants are blissfully unaware of the proposals. 
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    Sasha · 8 days ago
    They are dirty tricks - similar happened to me 10 years ago when I got a job after being on ESA. I called DWP and cancelled the ESA, but they didn’t cancel it - it took me a while to realise I was still receiving ESA payments, not just a salary, 
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    Lucy · 9 days ago
    Took part. I was loosing the will to live answering the ridiculous questions. I’m finding this whole idea stressful I have had breast cancer, I am on long term meds for this which has caused my osteoarthritis to spiral, I now need 2 thumb joint replacements, I have chronic pain and my anxiety is through the roof and then I have to fight for some money because when I started work at 18  I thought I was retiring at 60 not having to fight for a bit of help after years of paying into the system! 
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      patsy166 · 3 days ago
      @Lucy I’m really sorry you’re going through all of this and I wish you all the best. Like many others I have multiple health issues but I’m determined not to give up and let them continue with these Draconian policies 
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    Sarahjane · 9 days ago
    I disagree with the government,they seem to attack the disabled,our government gives aid and money to other countries,has any country come to our aid??? The government are making the disabled pay for there mistakes, I am registered disabled and I am concerned that the motability scheme will end then wat???
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      patsy166 · 3 days ago
      @Sarahjane It ends when you retire because you can’t get the higher rate of mobility when you retire 
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      CazzieB · 5 days ago
      @Sarahjane I completely agree. Support and help to UK citizens should be a priority, not sending money abroad for wars, or closer to home, offering contracts to 'mates' for not fit for purpose PPE....
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