Amber Rudd has cited her father’s blindness as the motivating factor in an announcement that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is to scrap repeat tests for pensioners receiving PIP payments.
This change means an approximate 270,000 pensioners currently receiving, or about to receive, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) disability benefits will move to a light touch review every 10 years instead of facing the ‘unnecessary experience’ of regular tests.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said: “I reflected on my father’s lack of sight, and how it affected his life and the lives of those who loved him, as I considered my role in supporting disabled people in Britain.
“Disabled pensioners have paid into our system for their whole lives and deserve the full support of the state when they need it most.
“This government, therefore, intends to change the landscape for disabled people in Britain: to level the terrain and smooth their path.
“The changes I am setting out today, including stopping unnecessary reassessments for disabled pensioners, are a step forward in improving quality of life for the UK’s 14 million disabled people.”
Ms Rudd said in a speech for the disabled charity Scope: “We will improve and simplify the customer experience by no longer undertaking regular reviews of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) awards for claimants at or above State Pension age unless they tell us their needs have changed.”
The changes mean those receiving PIP who have reached State Pension age will no longer have their awards regularly reviews, unless circumstances changed.
Ms Rudd said: “We will also be transforming the delivery of assessment services. I have established the Health Transformation Programme to undertake the significant task of transitioning the currently separate Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit (UC), and the PIP assessment services into one unified, integrated service from 2021.”
The minister also revealed she will review the government’s goal to see one million more disabled people in work by 2027 with a view to making it more ambitious.