Close-up of a document with the word 'Policy' at the top. A green highlighter is shown marking the word 'policy' in a list that includes 'government' and other partially visible terms. This image represents the focus on policy analysis and consultation, particularly relevant to the discussion of the PIP reform green paper and proposed changes to the disability benefit.

Do you claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or are you a carer for someone who does? Would you like to share your views on the government’s latest proposals to ‘modernise’ the benefit system?

The latest health and disability green paper proposes significant changes to the disability benefit PIP.

A green paper is a type of document used by the government to share new ideas and get public opinion. It’s like a first draft of a plan that the government is thinking about. The government releases these papers to hear what people think before making any final decisions.

Green papers explain possible new laws or changes and ask for feedback. They’re called “green” because they’re not final – they’re still growing and changing, like young plants. After getting people’s opinions, the government might change the ideas in the green paper before turning them into official plans.

In summary, these are:

  1. Making changes to who is eligible for PIP
  2. Redesigning the PIP assessment;
  3. Reforming the assessment so that it is linked towards the claimant’s condition;
  4. Removing cash payments in favour of mental or physical health treatment or support. The government makes the argument that the current system is no longer sustainable due to the increase in people claiming PIP, including a large rise in claims for mental health conditions.

The government is requesting responses from the public on what changes should be made to the current PIP system.

The paper is formed of four chapters and at the end of each chapter is a list of consultation questions that you are invited to respond to. Some ask whether you agree or disagree with a statement or proposal, while others are open ended and ask for your views.  I can only summarise some of the issues and questions in this blog, but there is a link to the full paper at the end of this article, as well as the online form which you can use to submit your responses directly to the government.

The first chapter focuses on whether to introduce a different type of PIP assessment which is concerned with diagnosis rather than how the condition affects the claimant on a day-to-day basis. You are invited to respond to this proposal, which includes:

  • Whether a PIP assessment should place more emphasis on condition/diagnosis rather than its impact on day-to-day living
  • Whether people could receive PIP without an assessment if they have specific evidence from a health professional
  • People not being asked to attend a PIP review if they have evidence from a health professional
  • Whether a formal diagnosis should be mandatory to receive PIP.

The second chapter examines the potential to keep the assessment as it is, but to change PIP eligibility criteria, such as changing descriptors, points, activities and how long a person can receive PIP for. Again, you are asked for your views on this proposal, including:

  • Whether you think a need for an aid or appliance is a bad/good indicator of extra ongoing costs and why
  • If any of the PIP activities should be removed or re-written and why
  • If new activities should be added
  • Whether the current nine-month period of illness or disability which is needed to apply for PIP is a good indicator of long-term impact.

The third chapter examines how extra costs associated with health conditions and disabilities and whether there should be other ways to meet these rather than a cash payment:

  • Which extra costs would be most important for a new scheme to address? For example, equipment/aids, transport costs, health and social care, personal assistants, higher utility costs
  • What are the benefits or disadvantages to the following: voucher scheme, shop/catalogue scheme, a receipt-based system, one off grants?
  • Are some people not getting needs met by current PIP scheme and would they benefit more from other help i.e direct services, psychotherapy, healthcare?

The final chapter asks whether getting PIP is the best way to support people with disabilities and health conditions or whether other services should be involved, such as local authority care and the NHS:

  • Do people already receive support from the local authority or the NHS with the extra costs of that come with having a disability or health condition?
  • Which needs/costs that come with having a disability could local areas help with further?
  • If we align the support offered by PIP with the local authority and the NHS how could this improve things for disabled people and people with health problems?

If you would like to comment on these issues and/or add your own views and experiences, you can find the paper here. And you can complete the consultation online here. You can also respond by email or post; details are within the paper.

It’s crucial to provide feedback on these proposals because your input can significantly influence the final policy decisions. Sharing your views and experiences helps ensure that the system is designed with real-world needs in mind. Your feedback can highlight potential issues or unintended consequences that policymakers may not have considered. By contributing your perspective, you’re helping to shape a support system that truly works for those who need it most. Remember, your voice matters in creating a fair and effective PIP system that serves the diverse needs of all claimants.

If you want to to make a lasting impact on the issues affecting disabled people and those with support needs locally, join Friends of Independent Lives today. As a member, you’ll receive a welcome pack, a special badge, and invitations to important meetings and events where you can vote on crucial issues.

You’ll also get access to an induction program with valuable training and a digital newsletter to keep you informed. By becoming a Friend of Independent Lives, you’ll be part of a community working together to create a better future for everyone. To learn more and register your interest, email, or call 01903 219482. Together, we can shape a society that works for all.