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Government planning changes to disability benefit system

Today the Government unveiled plans to overhaul benefit payments which could affect more than three million disabled people, including the 110,000 people living with a muscle wasting and weakening condition.

Following the announcement there will be a 12-week consultation period, where we’ll be voicing our concerns over the changes, and how this will impact people living with a neuromuscular condition.

Changes to PIP
Making the announcement, the Government stated that the benefit bill is rising at an ‘unsustainable rate’ and needs to be overhauled ensuring people who need it most are helped.

Personal independence payments (PIP) is a non-means-tested benefit paid to working-age people to help with extra living costs caused by long-term disabilities or ill health, with more than 3.3million people claiming.

Changes to PIP could include stopping cash payments, a maximum weekly payment of £184.30, which is often used for things like special diets, clothing, additional laundry or cleaning and accessible taxis or fuel to get to hospital appointments, which is a lifeline for someone living with a life-limiting condition.

Instead claimants cone-off grants for things like home adaptations or expensive equipment, and reimbursing claimants who provide receipts for purchases of aids, appliances or services.

It would consider whether current descriptors – such as the need for aids and appliances – are good indicators of extra costs. They are also considering whether people with long-term conditions and disabilities would need to be assessed at all – we know the undue stress that is created by being reassessed for PIP when muscle wasting and weakening conditions are progressive and so their impact is only likely to have become more acute, so we look forward to reiterating that in our engagement.

We’re here for you
We understand the latest news will be concerning, especially as we’re already living in a cost of living crisis. In our recent survey, just under half (49%) of you said financial security was a key priority. 24% of you said you didn’t feel financially secure.

Our Information, Support and Advocacy team receive a high number of calls through our free helpline regarding welfare benefits and we’re here to help. If you have any concerns, please do reach out to us.

Call our free helpline (open Monday – Thursday 10am – 2pm) on 0800 652 6352
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