PIP: DWP considers vouchers instead of cash payments and medical proof for benefit amid 2024 welfare review

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There are concerns that such adjustments could put many people at a disadvantage

PIP claimants may soon need to give proof of their medical conditions to continue receiving benefits, as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) mulls over changes to the system with the aim of cutting welfare expenses.

The DWP is contemplating a shift from universal payments to a more personalised approach, but there are concerns that such adjustments could put many disabled people at a disadvantage.

Among the proposals being considered are substituting cash payments with vouchers, and requiring claimants to initially use their own funds before being reimbursed. These proposals are currently undergoing review during a 12-week period of public consultation.

It is said this approach would enable the DWP to monitor how much claimants spend to address their needs. But Disability Rights UK has criticised the voucher proposal, saying: "Being offered vouchers is more than an insult; it is dangerous.

“We all want the right support when needed, and vouchers will not improve our lives. Instead, they will shut us off from our communities, leaving thousands without access to crucial services and support.

“This never-ending focus on tackling the myth of individual fraud costs billions – which everyone but this government would rather spend on providing a proper social safety net."

The DWP's 'Modernising support for independent living: the health and disability Green Paper' says: "PIP was designed to help disabled people and people with long-term health conditions by making a cash contribution towards their extra costs.

“It does not require any calculation of these costs, nor does it require recipients to spend their award in a particular way.

“Some people on PIP may have relatively small one-off or ongoing additional costs related to their disability or health condition that are fully covered by their award while others may find the current system does not provide enough support to meet their needs.

“We want to consider whether supporting people through direct, regular cash payments is still the best approach, or whether other approaches would better target our resources, delivering the right support to the people who need it most. "We want to know whether there are potentially groups of people who might need more than the current system provides, and what kinds of support they need. Different models are used in other countries. "For instance, in New Zealand, people submit supporting medical evidence verifying their health condition and also provide estimates of their additional costs, which are then approved for an ongoing award.

“In Denmark, awards for extra costs are determined on a case-by-case basis and issued by local government."

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