The DWP has suggested replacing PIP with a catalogue or a shop in the Green Paper on personal independence payment (PIP) reform published yesterday. The department also asks people to choose whether it is more important that disabled people have money for food or money for medication. 

Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper was published yesterday and is accompanied by an online consultation survey which the DWP say they want as many disabled people and other interested parties as possible to complete (see links at the end of this article).

Different type of assessment

In the first section of the consultation, readers are asked for their view on whether some claimants with medical evidence of specific health conditions should get PIP without any assessment at all.

Your opinion is also requested on whether only claimants with “evidence or a formal diagnosis by a medical expert” should be awarded PIP.

You are then asked to explain how to prevent the requirement for a formal diagnosis from a medical expert having an impact on the NHS - because it will undoubtedly mean a great deal more demands on consultants’ time.

Changes to eligibility

In the second section the DWP want to know whether the need for aids and appliances and for prompting should score PIP points.

They also question whether someone who get a lot of low scoring descriptors should be eligible for PIP at all.

And whether any PIP activities should be removed or any new ones added.

Finally, you are asked whether the current three month qualifying period and nine month forward test should be changed.

Meeting extra costs of disability

The consultation explains that PIP contributes towards the extra costs of disability.  It asks people which are the most important needs that should addressed – suggesting that not all of them can be. 

Respondents are asked to rank in importance from 1 to 10, such items as:

  • Medications and medical products
  • Additional food costs
  • Additional energy and utility costs
  • Additional housing costs

So, people really are being asked to decide if it is more important that disabled people get their medication, eat properly or heat their homes.

The same section asks people to list the benefits and disadvantages of moving to a new system for PIP claimants, which could be:

  • A catalogue/shop scheme
  • A voucher scheme
  • A receipt based system
  • One-off grants

The consultation then goes on to ask if there are people who, instead of cash, would benefit more from improved access to support or treatment, for example:

  • respite care,
  • mental health provision
  • physiotherapy

This does raise the question as to whether benefits claimants would get different/better/faster access to things like NHS counselling and physiotherapy?  Or whether they will be pushed onto short courses provided by private sector contractors hired by the DWP?

Passing PIP costs on to the NHS and local authorities

The final section asks some very bizarre questions about NHS and local authority provision, which most people would imagine the government would be better able to answer than the average member of the public.  For example:

“Which of the following do local authorities or the NHS help with?”

  • Equipment and aids
  • Medical products
  • Personal assistance (eg. help with household tasks)
  • Health services
  • Social care

The purpose of the questions, however, is clearly to sound out how much support there would be for pushing much of the cost of PIP onto the already desperately overstretched NHS and local councils.

What this Green Paper is really about

Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper is supposed to be a Green Paper setting out serious, carefully considered proposals for reform of PIP.

Instead it is a ragbag of random, cruel and foolish ideas thrown together by the DWP to serve the political needs of the Conservative Party, without any likelihood of any of them being acted upon. 

The Green Paper is simply intended to make the current administration look tough on claimants whilst goading the opposition into speaking out against it, thereby supposedly making them look soft on welfare.

The fact that it is causing enormous distress to many disabled claimants and their carers, as is clear from the comments sections on this site and elsewhere, is of no concern to the DWP or the Conservative Party.

At Benefits and Work, we don’t believe that this Green Paper will ever form the basis of new legislation.

However, we do think it is important that readers who feel able to, do take part in the consultation. 

It’s important that whoever forms the next government understands the strength of feeling against dismantling the disability benefits system and instead concentrates on dismantling the department that was cruel enough to publish these proposals.

Take part in the consultation

If you are unsure whether to take part in the consultation, now that an election has been announced, please read PIP changes and UC migration – how will the election affect them?

You can download Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper

You can take part in the online consultation, which closes on 22 July 2024.  You are not asked to give your name or any other personal details.

Or you can email your response to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please post a comment below if you take part in the consultation, to encourage others to do the same.

Blank consultation form for you to fill in

Many people have told us that they have found it difficult or impossible to complete the consultation because you cannot save the form and come back to it later.  So we have published a text version of the form, with spaces for you to type in your answers.  You can take as long as you like to do this and save it as often as you need. 

When you have answered all the questions you can either email the document to the consultation email address or, if you prefer to stay anonymous, copy and paste your answers into the online form instead.

Download blank form

Our submission

A number of people have asked how we are responding to the consultation.  We have published a copy of our answers to the consultation which you can download if you wish.  We wouldn’t advise you to copy them, but they may help you decide how you want to answer. 

We have tried to keep our answers brief as we don’t believe people should feel they have to write hugely detailed responses to what is, in our view a bad faith consultation.

Complaint about Question 18

We are particularly disgusted by Q18 and have sent a formal complaint to the consultation email address.  We would encourage other people to complain if they are unhappy about this question. 

Our complaint is worded as follows: 


 We wish to make a formal complaint about question 18 in the consultation related to “Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper”

The question asks:

“Which extra costs incurred by disabled people are the most important for a new scheme to address? Please rank the following options in your order of importance:”

Respondents are then required to rank 10 extra costs in order of importance. 

If a respondent doesn’t wish to answer the question, the options will remain in their default order and that will be recorded as the respondent’s choices, even though that is absolutely not the case.

For many people, ourselves included, the entire premise of the question is inappropriate:  asking people to decide whether, for example, medication, a specialised diet or energy to power medical equipment and provide additional warmth is more important.  They are all vital to life and all of equal importance.

Even if people wished to choose, their ranking might vary at different times of the year or different stages in their condition. 

In addition, even if respondents feel able to rank these items for themselves, how can they possibly make that choice on behalf of other disabled people with hugely different needs?  Yet that is what the question requires.

We consider that this question should either be removed from the consultation or, at the very least, that there should be an option to decline to answer or to rank all options equally.

As it stands, this question is clearly rigged and has no place in a genuine consultation.


24.05.24 Please note:  we have now had a response to our complaint as follows:

"We would like to clarify that if a respondent chooses not to answer question 18, no response is recorded for that respondent. The default order of the options will not be counted as a response if the question is left unanswered.

"Furthermore, if respondents wish to provide additional details regarding question 18, including if they feel that all options should be ranked equally, they are encouraged to highlight this in question 19. Question 19 is designed to allow respondents to elaborate on their views directly related to question 18."

We are a little dubious about this response, because if a respondent agreed with the DWP's chosen order and so did nothing, they would apparently be recorded as having not answered the question.  And the DWP's response does not alter the fact that this is an extraordinarily inappropriate question in the first place.

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    N/A I'm disabled who cares!! · 1 days ago
    Shocking about Q. 18 and yes I do havenan answer to state for Q. 19 about Q. 18 and it appears the DWP are making a mockery of the green paper for disabled people to answer this form - the length and questions are definitely setup by professionals and it’s clear they need training on code of ethics and most importantly about unconscious's bias.
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    Holly · 2 days ago
    Wow, it certainly feels like every political party are targeting PIP. Its awful. I have been reading the manifesto of every party so far and I am shocked. Reform UK - want to make face to face assessments compulsory, which are going to be traumatic for most people. Labour and Conservative parties seem to be hell bent on giving out vouchers which seem like a massive cop out. How are we meant to choose between food and heating our houses. 

    What they should be saying is vouchers for food / heating should be provided on top of the existing cash payments!! Anybody who thinks the PIP system is easy needs to give their head a wobble!! I find myself scared to fill in the questions on the reforms for fear of adding fuel to their fire! 

    What can we do... sure I agree it would be lovely if people claiming fraudulently could be caught and held to account, but not at the sake of all the people who genuinely need the extra help. Ive not read through the paper fully as quite frankly it is stressing me out but what does this mean for those of us who rely on our motability cars / wavs / scooter etc?
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    Koosie · 7 days ago
    I’m just completing my response. I hope it allows me to save a copy for myself for future reference 

    I would encourage everyone to respond as clearly the questions are biased and leading towards a voucher system.
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    Cathryn Taylor · 8 days ago
    I have done the Green paper on behalf of my Autistic son. I found some of the questions ridiculous for example # 18. I also found it difficult and I am worried I may have not completed it correctly. Would love to give DWP the 2 finger salute this is causing so much stress to people who already have enough problems coping with their disability. 
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    Vicki · 8 days ago
    Furious! Just spent AGES completing your survey on PIP and one part of the form doesn't allow you scross forwards to complete the rest of the survey. So it was a total waste of time. I'm so cross.
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    CARTERWINTER · 11 days ago
    done the green paper for the pip  if i could have shoved two fingers up i would have done       urge you all to make your voices heard 
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    Kenneth · 12 days ago
    On the BBC News App there is a contact form headed Your Voice, Your Vote where there are asking for people to tell them issues that are important to them for their journalist to investigate and report on. I would suggest if they get many responses raising the Disability Green Paper that might be helpful and it might raise this important issue. 
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    Jacqui · 12 days ago
    I've not actually looked at the form yet, but this is making my life miserable just thinking about it. Firstly PIP tops up my rent £56 a week, if transferred to UC and PIP is stopped my choice will be either pay the rent and starve or eat and not have a home. How are supposed to manage the upkeep of our home?  I am going to look at the paper, but I'm worried it will make me feel worse. 
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    Lynzy · 13 days ago
    I don't understand half of the questions. My brain just won't work. I get rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia , emphysema, copd , chronic liver disease, pseudogout, ptsd and am petrified my benefits will stop. 80% of the time I can't even get out of bed to excruciating pain. I can't go out on my own due to the excruciating pain . Maybe they should make pip means tested , instead of giving it to people who have thousands of pounds in the bank 
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    RA · 15 days ago
    Transforming Care for Mental Health has already been funded to the tune of £1billion but they don’t say they already cut £22billion from the NHS! Now they’re looking at more cuts and making up some of the deficit by diverting PIP away from providing independence, to psychological support, such as CBT, which pins the blame for the failure of governments onto the individual. It suggests the problem is within you, it’s how you think or feel about poverty and behave around austerity. It’s not our problem, it’s yours. Mental health care is now all about meeting government targets. Employment support is the cure all for depression. Get them off PIP and into work no matter the consequences. These ableist approaches are stigmatising individuals and leading to worse health outcomes for many. 

    Anyhow, I’ve just completed the consultation questionnaire.i really hope there will be a change of government that understands the importance of maintaining independence.
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    KMA · 16 days ago
    I would not have found the consultation if your good selves put the consultation link on your pages. They did seem to have easy read paper documents but could not track how to get a hard copy or a link to the "consultation" which makes me think it was paying lip service to our opinions. It was hardly accessible 
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    KMA · 16 days ago
    It was very difficult to find this consultation and the way that it has been written is for professionals rather than lay people who are on PIP. I could not answer the questions they were so poorly put together. It's like they don't want people with health conditions to answer the questions but are the one who will be impacted. It's hard enough to get PIP as it is. Treating us like we are stupid naughty children and not adults with our own agency was intensely patronising.
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    Joanne · 20 days ago
    This is absolutely disgusting. On so many levels.  Are any of these ideas being supported by charities involved with disabilities or mental health ??? I don’t think so. The idea that a long term health condition like mine can improve from support is absolutely absurd. I have cerebral palsy. If I could work I would be working. Getting dressed and doing day to day life is “work” to me. If cerebral palsy was a job no one would apply. There’s no time off from it. The money is stable yes, but for how long. I do not see myself as a victim of my cp or any of the related conditions- 
    Tr
    This is dehumanising so many people on so many levels. 
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    Lorraine · 22 days ago
    I also feel question 18 is inappropriate and none of those things are rankable. They are all important. I am angry and disgusted that I had to stop there.
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    DLDDLD · 22 days ago
    I still haven't got over the 'blatantly discriminatory' measure government used to effectively block any mentally ill claimant from claiming mobility for reasons of overwhelming psychological distress. They had to backtrack on this but saved themselves a fortune due to their harshness and willingness to 'test the courts'. So many MH claimants lost out.

    Now they vilify MH claimants specifically while also considering voucher or catalogue options to eradicate this MH claimant problem. Neither medication or psychiatric treatment has ever helped my condition but my wife, who had to give up work to care foe me, is able to watch and control me. Vouchers or catalogue items, nor aids or appliances, nor stair lifts or specialised appliances, showers or beds. None of this is generally of use to MH claimants. 

    Psychiatric help yes but you get this I'd you are severe enough anyway. Are we to lose all ability to live, cash support, while the currently 'free at source' NHS treatments would tgen be seen as a replacement. What happens when you can't pay debts, bills, but items you choose as does everyone else. What happens when government implement 'no cash' employment for everyone. PIP was always about independence but this is all about dominance and absolute control of anyone who needs help. I support all physically disabled in their pursuit of benefits justice too but so much more is aimed at mentally ill claimants...
    the skivers of society.
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    Bernard · 23 days ago
    This green paper is causing distress to my relative, who has normal GCSE level cognitive ability but does not understand the doctorate level chess games of electioneering. It is a shame that all parties feel it is necessary to use expenditure on disability as an example of political differences in their parties approach to distributing the public purse. The needs of a disabled person do not change with policy. The definition of disability does.
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    LN · 23 days ago
    I have completed the consultation online after printing off B&W copy of their questions and answers which was extremely helpful thank you it is long and complicated no doubt aimed at putting people off completing it but as it’s so important to have your views taken into account it really is worth the time and effort I think so hope people aren’t put off. I too have complained about question 18 this is such a cruel and uncaring attempt to deny vulnerable people of the support they need I hope it is abandoned and a new government may do that hopefully 🤞 Lesley’s comment below that she has emailed her MP asking them to encourage the consultation to be completed is great thank you for the suggestion I will do this too the word getting out as far reaching as possible is really important and time pressing as the consultation closes on 22 July
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    Humpyhumty · 23 days ago
    Looks like the General Election in July will quash all this green paper bullshit. Richie rich can buggar off to California for ever in his self elective downfall. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Humpyhumty · 22 days ago
      @Anon I'm counting my eggs..... and I'm voting labour. I personally believe labour is the lesser of two evils. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Anon · 23 days ago
      @Humpyhumty Don't count your chickens..... Labour haven't said anything about reversing any of this and haven't won the election yet 
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    Lesley Laing · 23 days ago
    I filled in the form. I nearly gave up as I was mentally exhausted. I think the new choices discriminate against disabled people. Providing receipts. Giving vouchers that can only be used in certain places and only on certain things takes disabled people back to being told what to do. Not having a say and losing all independence.  I have emailed my mp and asked if she can make her constitutes aware of the survey and how important it is to gill it in.
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    Gilly · 23 days ago
    Completed the questionaire but oh my - not one single question relating to the provision of human support for those needing PIP. Carers are unpaid supporters of someone who needs PIP and they come at an immense cost if outsourcing. In some cases you would need to employ a cook, accountant, taxi driver, domestic, advocate, friend, translator, nursemaid, confidante, teacher, chaperone, prompter, supervisor and general personal assistant. Yet - not one question in the consultation considered the role of carers or how ludicrous it would be to try and shop for a person from a catalogue. Many people who need PIP do not need applicances they need people so that they can live a more normal life.
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      Christine · 9 days ago
      @Gilly Thank you for articulating so well what I've been wracking my poor little brain to do on this wholly cruel mission of theirs. 
      My fear is that family, spouses, particularly retired ones are expected to do all that for free and therefore shouldn't be factored in. The truth is that the current system of actual payment supports the whole household in a way, including the unpaid carer thus making life, the drudgery of disability or ill health a little more bearable. If this goes ahead there will be suicides. 
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