Thousands of people with mental health problems could be missing out on PIP - despite court ruling against DWP

Tuesday, 11 February 2020 Mind

Thousands of people with mental health problems could be missing out on PIP despite court ruling against Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

The DWP is currently reviewing more than 1.6m Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims in order to identify people who should be receiving additional financial support following a High Court Judgment about mental health and mobility.

In December 2017 a High Court case ruled that changes to PIP discriminated against people with mental health problems. As a result of the ruling the Government was required to review all 1.6 million cases of people who need support from PIP to check who might be eligible for more money. Around 220,000 of the 1.6million people receiving PIP were expected to benefit from the ruling at the time primarily due to their mental health. Many of these people could be missing out on additional funds which help them live full, independent lives.

New figures out today show that, despite reviewing thousands more cases, only 0.5 per cent of 720,000 claims have resulted in increased rewards from PIP, compared to Government predictions that 14 per cent of cases would benefit from the ruling.

The data shows:
• 720,000 cases have been cleared
• 3,500 arrears payments have been made

Ayaz Manji, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer at Mind says:

“Benefits like personal independence payment can be a lifeline for people who face extra costs because of a mental health problem. Mental health problems can be just as debilitating as physical health problems, and the benefits system should protect all of us who need it.

“It’s alarming that despite it being more than two years since the landmark ruling, the number of people benefiting from an increase in PIP is still thirty times lower than the Government predicted.

“We’re still hearing from far too many people that they’re not being assessed properly for help with the costs of travelling and leaving the house. That includes people who have been turned down for help purely based on what medication they’re taking, or depending on when they last were in hospital for their mental health – even when these things have no bearing on their ability to leave the house and make journeys.

“If this is a mistake, in the Government’s original estimates, the DWP needs to open itself up to independent scrutiny to fully understand what’s gone wrong. In the meantime, thousands of people with mental health problems will rightly be worried that their case hasn’t been dealt with fairly. Especially if you’re struggling to make ends meet, this can have a significant and devastating impact on our mental health.

“The DWP is responsible for making sure it putting the individual at the heart of any decision it makes. When anyone goes for a benefits assessment they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and seen by someone who has a real understanding of how their condition affects their daily life. So they can get the right decision first time round.”

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