Campaigners have asked why it took the government four years – and a tribunal judgement – to ensure that eligibility for a disability benefit takes proper account of whether a disabled person can carry out certain activities safely.
Penny Mordaunt, the minister for disabled people, told MPs this week that as many as 10,000 disabled people could end up receiving higher rates of personal independence payment (PIP) as a result of changes made to government guidance.
Those changes reflect a benefits tribunal decision in March that found that Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) guidance was wrongly reflecting the intention of the legislation that led to PIP’s introduction in 2013.
By 2022-23, an estimated 10,000 claimants are now likely to be receiving between £70 and £90 more per week, Mordaunt said.
The new version of DWP’s PIP guidance affects how DWP decides whether a claimant can carry out an activity safely, and if they need supervision to do so.
Mordaunt said the changes would most affect claimants with conditions that affect consciousness, particularly epilepsy.
She said DWP would now examine all existing PIP cases and “identify anyone who may be entitled to more”, and then write to those affected, backdating payments to the date of the change in case law.
Mordaunt also announced that DWP had made a number of changes to “add clarity” to guidance on how claimants with sensory impairments are assessed for PIP.