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The Guardian has reported that Iain Duncan Smith is considering merging personal independence payment (PIP) and employment and support allowance (ESA) into a single benefit or, alternatively, merging the two tests.

In an interview on 2 October, IDS told the Guardian:

“It is early days in the reform process, but Duncan Smith says that he has already started to ease the system through the “fit for work” programme, which makes an assessment of the needs of a claimant who falls ill, rather than “parking them on statutory sick pay”. He is also looking at the idea of merging ESA (paid to those out of work) with disability living allowance (DLA – paid to fund the costs of disabled people who are both in work and out of work) under universal credit. Alternatively, he might just merge the two tests for the benefits.

“Duncan Smith has a more favourable view of the DLA test. “My sense was if you just looked at disability living allowance, that doesn’t reach the same absolute. The test is not about ‘can you work or can’t you work’, it is looking at your condition.”

Many claimants may find it worrying that IDS has apparently not spotted that DLA has been replaced by PIP for working age claimants.

That aside, it is clear that the tests for PIP and ESA, both of which rely on a points system and an army of hastily trained ‘health professionals’ to administer them, could conceivably be merged into a single assessment.

The attraction for the DWP in terms of reduced costs would be considerable.

The downside from their point of view, however, would be that an application for ESA would be likely to end up being an application for PIP as well, meaning a potential increased take-up of that benefit.

You can read the full interview in the Guardian


+2 #20 Shitmagnet55 2015-10-24 19:47
The world has gone Mad! They will no doubt have us all shot at dawn as being a drain on the system! Hitler maybe dead but some of his ideals still prosper! The perfect human is all you need to be!
#19 Bud 2015-10-09 13:22
Quoting carruthers:
Quoting Bud:
I thought that happened anyway Eli?

But looking on the bright side, only one assessment :-)

NO PIP is not an "out of work benefit" - it gets paid regardless of whether you work or not.

At the moment.

Mmmm perhaps they're trying to get the people that can work off benefits. We'll have to wait & see.
+1 #18 carruthers 2015-10-09 10:15
Quoting Bud:
I thought that happened anyway Eli?

But looking on the bright side, only one assessment :-)

NO PIP is not an "out of work benefit" - it gets paid regardless of whether you work or not.

At the moment.
+3 #17 carruthers 2015-10-09 10:06
There are so many pitfalls in this idea, that we must hope that IDS was just "kite-flying". I could see the DWP thinking that it could save money by merging the assessments for the 2 benefits.

That's a bad idea because it would end up with anyone who was found able to work being denied PIP as well, even though the basic reasons for the 2 benefits is quite different.

But perhaps IDS, like some of his junior ministers in the past, doesn't know/remember that DLA/PIP is NOT an out of work benefit.

Ultimately, if the 2 benefits were "merged" that would simply mean the abolition of DLA/PIP as both benefits would become a means-tested benefit as part of UC.

But then, IDS and his party want to destroy the Welfare State altogether.
+1 #16 hells36 2015-10-08 10:30
So where would that leave those of us who don't claim ESA because we are in work, and would only be wanting to claim PIP? Would it mean we'd no longer be able to claim PIP and therefore loose our Motability cars.
+2 #15 nofuss 2015-10-08 10:20
Steve: If your income is low enough, you might be able to get income based ESA instead of contributions based ESA; you can ask to be assessed for this. But first I'd check whether they've got their figures correct re your NI contributions; from experience I know that NI records aren't always up to date/correct. Also, years ago when I was on JSA I opted to go on a Government backed training course (to train to be a telephonist) for a few weeks and, although my JSA NI credits didn't count, the credits I received while I was actually on the course did count for Incapacity Benefit (IB) for some reason - I think possibly because they paid me £10 on top of my JSA to go on the course. It may not be the same nowadays with ESA having replaced IB, but if you've been on anything like that it might be worth checking. You could also consider applying for PIP, of course, which isn't means tested and isn't contributions based.
+1 #14 Steve 2015-10-07 21:06
I was granted esa by the points system by one of there doctors
But because I hadn't payed enough national insurance stamps for 2013-2014 they wont give it me
Any advice please
+3 #13 Hera123 2015-10-07 17:03
Terrifying news to say the least, thanks to this site I was able to argue my case quite well as I prepared for tribunal then the DWP wrote back to say I'd been placed in the SG. I haven't claimed PIP as I am praying/hoping to get well fast due to the strain of being totally dependent on the meagre income ESA provides. I'm still awaiting treatment and now embroiled in a dispute over the bedroom tax so a special booklet on HB/DHP would be handy as we fight injustice, It is IDS's intention to push us to suicide via relentless pressure, this site is instrumental in helping ESA claimants live - it gives hope in the face of serious illness and a system designed to wear us down.
+4 #12 nofuss 2015-10-07 13:36
ESA is taxable, but I don't believe PIP is. Therefore maybe also behind the idea of combining ESA with PIP would be to make the new combined benefit taxable? :(
+4 #11 Kasbah 2015-10-07 12:52
I was re-assessed for PIP and DLA in one WCA ATOS assessment! They had not sent me an ESA50 form for this and I spotted the "health professional" referring to the old ESA50 form that had been used 2 years previously. When I challenged her over this, she told me that it still had a lot of relevant information. However I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in the meantime and my osteoarthritis had worsened.

I was denied the Support Group and my DLA was not increased. They had not requested any medical evidence from the 2 Consultants I see, or from my GP. I appealed both decisions and was awarded High Rate DLA mobility and ESA Support Group, thank goodness.

It was an intensely distressing experience. I lost 2 stone due to stress and became very depressed. Words can not describe what I feel about the DWP and IDS and I dread to think what will happen if IDS goes ahead with this ruinous idea.
+3 #10 Basildon CRC 2015-10-07 12:41
Potentially horrendous.
what happens if you are working but disabled and only claim PIP?
+1 #9 Plonker 2015-10-07 11:45
We in Northern Ireland are in a no mans land at present as Welfare Reform is not implemented in full. We still have DLA, ESA but no PIP at present.
+3 #8 PDA 2015-10-07 11:15
If IDS was doing more than kite-flying then this is worrying. The tests are, at least notionally, completely different. One is about capacity to go out and work day in day out, the other is about assessing how a disability affects daily life (cooking, bathing etc) and provides money for extra costs associated with the difficulties.

On the positive side, even if true it will take years for DWP to action this. Just think of the IT changes needed. Surely they are up to their necks dealing with Universal Credit at the moment.
+3 #7 Jim Allison 2015-10-06 16:18
This may be good news for those in receipt of ESA & DLA/PIP.

However, what about those who are on State Pension rather than ESA. As an example my wife retired at 60 years of age on State Pension, but also has an indefinite award of DLA. As she was under 65 years of age when PIP was announced in April 2013, at some time soon she will lose her DLA and have to claim PIP.

Another example that IDS’s brains are in his b***s
+4 #6 Eli48 2015-10-06 10:09
They have not merged then yet. IDS is considering this. But I find this more insidious than you do. It mean when you are declared for work if you have ESA and PIP, both go at the same time, so you cannot rely on your PIP to live on. Or if sanctioned, you lose both, if you have both. Or if you apply for ESA/PIP and are refused, you cannot then apply for PIP if you need to.
+4 #5 JayneL Linney 2015-10-06 09:10
This is absolutely terrifying; they already make so many wrong 'decisions' on both benefits; the problems this would cause are insurmountable
+5 #4 tintack 2015-10-06 00:15
Merging two widely discredited benefits which have caused immense misery and suffering. Marvelous. What a wonderful idea. What could possibly go wrong?
+2 #3 Plonker 2015-10-05 14:28
I believe IDS is looking at a bigger picture. If he does merge the two benefits he can cut DWP staff. One medical and all the information on us in one place.
+1 #2 Bud 2015-10-05 13:13
I thought that happened anyway Eli?

But looking on the bright side, only one assessment :-)
+5 #1 Eli48 2015-10-05 11:38
Oh great. So that means then if my ESA stops due to being found fit for work, my PIP money ends as well? So absolutely no money coming in basically.

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