Justin Tomlinson gets questioned on PIP assessments
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There could be plans to change the way the system works, as Dr Coffey appeared to make apparent going forward. The DWP minister was speaking to a fringe event which was hosted by the Centre for Policy Studies, as the Conservative Party conference got underway in Manchester this week. She said: “One of the biggest things I’m wanting to try and make sure we focus on in the next few years is for people who right now think they cannot work.
“We published the national disability strategy earlier this year, a cross-government approach in all sorts of ways to try to improve people’s life.
“One of the key things which we still have a target to focus on is about where we flip our system about welfare benefits in terms of people with health conditions.
“Instead of our system basically trying to encourage people to show how they really cannot do any work at all, to actually flipping that and see what is it that you can do and we can support you to [do].
“I think it is about the agenda being positive, an escalator, trying to help people, it is there as a welfare net, rather than a welfare trap.
“And that will continue, I believe, to be the agenda.”
However, Dr Coffey also made reference to Personal Independence Payment, or PIP as it is more commonly known, a vital benefit for many people.
PIP is intended to help with extra living costs for those who are living with a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability.
People will be eligible if they have difficulty doing certain everyday tasks, or in getting out and about because of their condition.
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People will be able to receive PIP even if they are working, have savings or are receiving most other benefits.
Referencing the benefit, Dr Coffey added: “PIP has certainly grown in a way that was not anticipated when it was introduced.”
Younger people, the Secretary of State said, are receiving the benefit mostly for “mental ill-health”, and there may be other benefits they receive as well.
Dr Coffey stated she was “very conscious” three in four of those younger people who claim PIP have the primary reason of poor mental health for a claim.
She concluded: “I think by being able to target that even more so to people who really need that support, may improve that prospect of public perception.”
The DWP is responsible for administering a number of important benefits including Universal Credit, Pension Credit and PIP.
Millions of people right across the country will be in receipt of these benefits, with some reliant on them to get by on a day-to-day basis. As a result, many will be invested in how the system works, and how it could help them.
For those who wish to claim PIP, there are two key parts – a daily living part for those who need help with everyday tasks, and a mobility part if a person needs assistance with getting around.
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Whether someone receives one or both parts and how much they get, is dependent on how difficult they find everyday tasks and getting around.
At present, the two rates for the daily living part of PIP stand at either £60.00 or £89.60 per week.
For the mobility element, the lower rate is £23.70, and the higher rate is £62.55 – both per week.
People will be able to apply by calling the DWP and explaining their circumstances, as well as providing details of their condition and the contact information of their health professional.
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