Some existing PIP claimants may lose their support group status and be transferred to the universal credit health element, where they may be required to carry out work-related activities, as early as 2026, Benefits and Work can reveal. This directly contradicts the claim by the government that current claimants would not be affected before 2029.

The government announced plans last month to axe the work capability assessment (WCA), which is currently used to decide if claimants should be placed in the limited capability for work-related activity (LCWRA) group for UC or the support group for ESA.

Under the new plans, claimants who get any element of PIP and who claim UC will automatically be eligible for an additional health element with no need to undergo a separate assessment to decide their capability for work.

However, the new system will not automatically recognize any claimant as unable to carry out any work-related activities.

Instead, if you are receiving the UC health element you may be set both voluntary and mandatory work-related requirements by a work coach and you will be subject to sanctions if you don’t meet the mandatory requirements.

When the plans were announced, the government stated that current claimants would not begin being transferred to the new system until 2029 at the earliest.

Only new claimants were said to be affected initially, with the system being rolled out by geographical area between 2026 and 2029.

However, evidence given to the commons work and pensions committee last week by the DWP contradicted this claim.

Conservative MP Nigel Mills asked DWP representatives what the situation would be for existing PIP claimants who had a review assessment between 2026 and 2029:

“You have a long run-in for this. It will be 2029 before you are worried about people who are already in the system. What happens if I get a called for a new PIP assessment every couple of years and I get one of those in 2027? Does that drop me into the new rules or do I stay under the old ones?”

Katie Farrington, Director General for Disability, Health and Pensions at the DWP answered on behalf of the department:

“With the way we will roll this out, we start from 2026 with new claims only, but we will do it in a geographical, staged way. It would depend which area you were in in 2027. Yes, some people might come in under the new rules, and that means they would automatically get your UC health payment and would automatically get the support.”

Given that an increasing proportion of England and Wales, at least, will be moved onto the UC health element beginning in 2026, this would suggest that many thousands of existing PIP claimants who have a review of their award will find themselves being forced onto the UC health element earlier than 2029.

It will essentially be a lottery, with where you live and when you are reviewed deciding whether you are moved over to the new system early or not.

On a more hopeful note, Mel Stride Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, told the committee that legislation would not even be put before the current parliament:

“This is not being rushed—far from it. A lot of people say that it is getting in early, and I am keen to do so, but it requires primary legislation that will go through the House in the next Parliament. As Katie says, it is then 2026 to 2029 for the new claimants before we get on to the stock of the existing claimants at that moment in time in 2029 onwards.”

Assuming that by “next Parliament” Stride means the next elected government rather than the next parliamentary session, then it will be up to whoever wins the election to decide if these changes go ahead.

However, with the rhetoric from the Labour Party often being similar to that of the Conservatives when it comes to benefits, there is no certainty that the plan will be axed even if there is a change in the ruling party after the next election.

It looks like campaigning against the proposals, by “the stock of the existing claimants” needs to start sooner rather than later.

You can read the minutes of the 29 March meeting of the work and pensions committee here.

Comments

Write comments...
or post as a guest
People in conversation:
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Falling apart · 9 days ago
    I am totally in favour of cracking down on benefits cheats and investigated fraudulent claims myself until my health deteriorated almost overnight. I have fibromyalgia, thoracic curve in my spine, macular degeneration, menieres, bipolar and diverticulitis. 
    I now receive pips and ESA(c).  I will reach retirement age in 3 years and at present the rules are that if you are getting pips prior to retirement they continue afterwards.  Call me a cynic but I suspect my payments will stop just short of my retirement date.
    The DWP need to penalise those who abuse the system not financially abuse those of us who can not be part of a system.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Kiki · 28 days ago
    People will die if this change is passed. I could not live without my PIP payments. I have progressive MS amongst other things. I could not carry on living without my PIP my life would be over 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Abbi · 5 months ago
    Hi all,

    I am on UC (LCWRA) and was on PIP, but as I anticipated, I lost it at review and I'm currently fighting until tribunal to get it back.
    I say anticipated, because this happens every time - my health is extremely complicated and many of my conditions are rare, not understood and not supported by the NHS.

    My concern here is that I expect at every review, I will have to go through this process. Which is currently over 12+ months for our area (from the point in which they award zero points and my PIP gets taken away, to the tribunal date).
    So what happens here?

    - Will we have 12 months of basically no money? Just rent paid for and basic UC job seekers amount?

    - What if within those 12 months we're forced into full time work? Or will UC not force this until we've finished fighting toward tribunal?

    I am extremely concerned, as UC (with LCWRA) is only just enough to live on for me and that's not taking into account additional necessary private medical appointments, which PIP has been covering.
    So 12+ months of not having enough money to survive on is a scary prospect and I'm extremely money savvy.

    What will this new UC benefit represent? As it's currently whether you're able to work or not. Then PIP is mobility/daily living. Are they keeping it like that?
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    M. Brooks. · 6 months ago
    The rhetoric of the Labour Party on benefits is not similar to the Conservatives at all, this is inaccurate. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Yvonne · 8 months ago
    I'm on enhanced pip the two parts of pip. I. Appealed on my first assessment pip going back and won got to stay on enhanced pip.
    The second assignment they didn't call me in for medical assessment,  sent me a form and co ordinator filled it in and I've still got to stay on enhanced pip up to 2029.
    What about all these new assesments and changes the government are going to try and put forward.
    First of all what does UC mean please? Secondly will I be called up for assessment? I'm under the mental act it's called the adapt team, were I see doctor every 3 months sometimes over video link to anxious and paranoid getting attacked and I hear and see voices bad depression. I've got co ordinator and she's two plushy wanting to join the mental health college, were you have different things to do and see a phycologist. What do you think ? I would love your fed back I'm 53 with know work experience. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Ian · 1 years ago
    I currently work part time and get pip from 2026 if you go to these assignments and tell theses work coaches your already in part time employment what happens?? Will you lose your pip if your working?? I’m very worried pip is a lifeline for me 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      M. Brooks. · 6 months ago
      @Ian PIP does not relate to whether you work nor not.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Paula Braddon · 11 months ago
      @Ian It’s this is from paulanot great. I had pip for the last three years the lower amount on both and listed capability for work and work related. Physically and mentally the intense pain I. Became sick I 2019. My corporate job I couldn’t cope with becuse of my Fybro. I was a corporate trainer and loved I loved itZ.. Maher big sale streams and lots or revue driven meetings. Anyway after 13 years I have to stop. My pain was so bad. I felt better with the support of PIP it meant that I could start to get out of the house and feel better. I had to reapply to a reconsideration, put all the paperwork through expecting to happen that this time it
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    FieldL2015 · 1 years ago
    I’m on uc Lcwra and pip enhanced. It’s very unlikely with my health issues I will ever get into full time employment, but I want to try part time (suited to my needs , possible working from home) but the dwp make it impossible and don’t do enough for people who want to try work, employers whinge they have posts available but yet when you apply they want x y and z years worth of experience so you can’t apply. I’m dubious about this plan, I don’t trust the tories as far as I can throw them. I just hope whoever gets in after the conservatives sorts this mess out and gives clarification to everyone who is worried sick ( me being one of them) 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    P · 1 years ago
    I suspect this is a misinterpretation. The change is intended to prevent loss of benefits for the future equivalent of the LCWRA group, if they try out some work. Which is a huge issue currently for fluctuating conditions. I saw no indication that the new PIP UC group would be bullied into work, just that they won’t get penalised for trying some?
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jacko · 1 years ago
    The way I see this is its unlikely a Tory will be at the helm of the DWP in 2025, Labour has some compassion towards disabled. They can not say to publicaly they support the disabled as the Tories will love nothing better than to paint Labour as party for benefit claiments.   Reves and Stamar will get votes for pushing the economy and high employment as this matters to voters, disabled claiments do not win elections.  Once in then they can make a difference.  Ashworth does have real life experience which is more than the crop of right wing @@@@ we have had as head of DWP.   Also a lot of Labour MPS and some Tories will not vote for the ledgeslation as it stands.  
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      M. Brooks. · 6 months ago
      @welshval Not true. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      welshval · 1 years ago
      @Jacko Jacko what you say may have been true under the last Labour leader but the current party is very right wing and Starmer has repeatedly stated they are the party of business. He and Wes Streeting have already taken donations from heads of private health companies so you can see where their priorities lie the current Labour party are no more interested in welfare recipients than the Tories. Even if Starmer showed some interest he has a records of broken pledges which show how untrustworthy his character has proved to be
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Gary · 1 years ago
    I am wondering the same as Kerry, i am also in ESA SG and PIP.  This government are yet again forcing all disabled people into some or any kind work and don't care about the consequences this might have on us disabled folk.   And as usual they make these changes but don't make things very clear.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Aw · 1 years ago
      @Gary Not only am not fit for WRA, I'm not fit to have direct contact with the DWP. I have no idea where these plans leave me. I can't do f2f, I can't do phone appointments, my OCD will go into overdrive if I have to keep checking the online journal for important messages, I won't be able to *stop checking. I don't want an appointee and I don't have anyone who could do that for me anyway. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Kerry · 1 years ago
    Does this only apply to people on UC and PIP. I’m on PIP and ESA CB Support Group. My husband works full time. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Edwards · 1 years ago
      @Kerry No-one knows,they've said nothing about es cb support,that's also me
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Arthur · 1 years ago
    All in all worrying but not surprising. Even in these early stages the whole idea seems to unravelling and turning into another shambles. If they can't even honestly fix a start date to at least a year how will they handle the complexities of a new untried system. Very poorly I would think but of course that won't affect the people who are paid to manage the claims only the claimants desperate for help and support.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    tom · 1 years ago
    I have PIP And ESA SG awards FOR DIFFERENT CONDITIONS And they can Do one if they think i'm going to hoop jump
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Anna Webb · 1 years ago
    My autistic son has been let down by the school system, which kept trying to force him to be less autistic. His mental health collapsed in year 10 and remains making it impossible for him to function in a manner which would make him employable. He simply cannot be on time for anything and has debilitating OCD. They have already tried to give him 0 points. Lack of the right support at the right time has made him like this and the pattern is now set. Sanctions (parental ones) have never worked with him. If this happens to him; he will be one of those poor unfortunates who is found starved to death. This will be a disaster and is already affecting my own mental health with worry.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Tude · 1 years ago
    Can I ask about 2016 to 2018 mental health was not recognised but was in 2020 backdated I’ve still not been notified yet.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Stephen Mack · 1 years ago
    Agree with the article's general thrust because that is the way the DWP has been working.
    However, for SOME people who are disabled, but might be able to SOME work, a supportive work coach might be a blessing.
    My own daughter, for example, could probably work around 10 hours a week.
    However, that 10 weeks would include getting to a workplace, so only home work would be any good. Additionally, which 10 hours might not be predictable until a week is actually received.
    There may be jobs which could cope with this (working from home, with a computer, on tasks which are of the "next one on the list" variation) but, from experience, it is impossible to find.
    A work-coach prepared to use the resources of the DWP to find such jobs, or even persuade employers that it is a good idea, would be a benefit.
    I am not suggesting that any compulsion should be applied, but actual help would be a benefit. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      welshval · 1 years ago
      @Linda agree with both you and Gail this is not about helping us it's about making life harder if not impossible for us . You may have noticed how"" this work is good for you" regardless of one's circumstances agenda is being promoted in MSM and this coupled with concerns that have been raised in the last few years with the best of intentions  have been  twisted to the government's advantage. We need to have people able to expose this truth because otherwise the government will control the narrative i.e. That they are only doing it for our own good-Please no one suggest the Labour party because they have similar plans  
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Gail · 1 years ago
      @Stephen Mack Actual help rarely exists, unless you get a very rare good work coach, which I very rarely hear of. It's about doing what they are told to do, getting you through that door, making you do things/tasks/look for work, whatever it may be, to justify their existence, the DWPexistence as a whole, and a very good excuse for the government to not pay vulnerable people money they so desperately need on a daily basis. They are always trying to find ways to deprive the most vulnerable in society, why? If only they had to walk a day in our shoes and they would think very differently. What I would give to fit and healthy, and not in pain and exhausted and restricted in my whole life every day.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Linda · 1 years ago
      @Stephen Mack Except of course this has nothing to do with actual help, and everything to do with denying disability and chronic ill health!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    sally-jane · 1 years ago
     i  presume this is not relevant for state pensioners who  are due for a 'light touch' , review in  2026 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Inglis25 · 1 months ago
      @Linda They are targeting pensioners as well.   

      The Rich and the arrogant will never have any empathy for the sick the disabled or those who are struggling.
      They look at life through a lense of privilage, they have never had to suffer in their life. None have felt the pain of hunger or had sleepless nights worrying about unpaid bills and how they are going to feed and cloth their children.
      Being sick and disabled is not a lifestyle choice neither is getting old a choice. Sadly these days we are all treated like we are criminals and old age brings no peace from our percecuters. Those leaders should hang their heads in shame for the cruelty and fear they are causing to the most vulnerable in society.
      One day we will all have to answer for our sins to our maker. I will leave those evil Leaders to God.

    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Linda · 1 years ago
      @sally-jane I wouldn't have thought so since the support group is only for people of working age and not pensioners. So if you're a pensioner you don't have a support group status to lose!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Neil Vaughan · 1 years ago
    The cull continues 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Martin · 1 years ago
    What happens to new claimants who don’t get PIP but should have been put in the LCWRA group…will they get any extra money? If not how are they meant to survive?
     Is the traditional protection for those currently in the LCWRA group and who don’t claim PIP permanent or is it tapered off? 
    PIP applications will probably increase and many more people with mental health problems could worry so much they will become very unwell. 
    Why are people with health problems being targeted like this? Life is tough enough for these people already. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Martin · 1 years ago
      @Martin The transitional protection I meant. This is for people who are transferred from the LCWRA group on Universal credit to the proposed system. 
      This may also put many people off trying out going back to work if they are not sure if it will make them unwell. As they have had a change in circumstances, unless they are claiming PIP, they may not get the transitional protection anymore if it doesn’t work out for health reasons and they need to claim Universal Credit again. They could then end up trapped in poverty. 
      I think this is also the case with people currently claiming ESA. They could be frightened of trying to work again because of the risk of relapse. They would then potentially be put onto Universal Credit if this happened. This is actually what happened to me. I used to claim ESA and wanted to try out some work. I became very unwell whilst working and was then put onto Universal Credit. As a result I have had less money ever since. This is very unfair in my opinion. I have been permanently penalised for trying my hardest to work. 
      I really don’t understand the mentality of the Conservative government and some of their policies. Stopping people with health conditions from trying to work and live a more normal life is really wrong in my opinion 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Andrew · 1 years ago
    They keep messing with the system. The whole idea for this is because they are focussing on those claiming disability to be pushed into work, they will give them the PIP for a month or so or whatever it was and then take it off of you. Ian Duncan smith is to blame for the previous mess of UC, where people were being made homeless and put into debt because claimants weren't getting the money they were supposed to.

    I'm not sure why they are pushing those on disability into jobs when there are people that have been out of work because of covid, should be the first ones pushed back into jobs. Not those on disability. 

    I had to fill in a new form the other month, despite having sciatic nerve issues, bad back for at least 15 years, arthritis in my knees since I was about 20, IBS, back neck and yet they still ignore the mobility side of it. The last time I asked about a review I was told that I could lose all my PIP! That can't be right. I'm only 53, I can't sit down for too long, I can't stand up for longer than 10 minutes maximum, making dinner can be a bit of a challenge sometimes lol

Free PIP, ESA & UC Updates!

Delivered Fortnightly

Over 110,000 claimants and professionals subscribe to the UK's leading source of benefits news.

 
iContact
We use cookies

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.