The Department for Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd announced the new policy to PIP assessments in March
A reform to reduce reassessments of disabled pensioners is to launch tomorrow (Friday 31 May), the Department for Work and Pensions has announced.
The new policy, first announced by Work and Pensions’ Secretary Amber Rudd in March, means those receiving PIP who have reached State Pension age will no longer be regularly reviewed.
Recipients will instead take part in a “light touch review” after 10 years, as opposed to reassessments every few years.
Ms Rudd said the change is part of a wider set of initiatives to “improve the quality of life for disabled people.”
She added: “Stopping unnecessary PIP reviews for people over State Pension age is a positive change.
“It applies a common-sense approach to treating those whose conditions are unlikely to change, and we want to introduce it as quickly as possible for those who will benefit from it.”
Pensioners can currently only claim PIP if they were already receiving it when they reached the state pension age – with new claimants over 65 instead applicable for Attendance Allowance.
And whilst there are close to 290,000 state pensioners currently in receipt of the benefit, tomorrow’s change unfortunately won’t affect them.
That’s because, for the time being, only new claimants who start receiving PIP from Friday onwards will be eligible – not those already receiving it.
The decision to phase in the new policy has been met with criticism from disability charities though, with Genevieve Edwards of the MS Society branding it “really disappointing.”
She told the Mirror: “There are more than 7,300 people with MS over the state pension age already claiming PIP.
“They shouldn’t have to keep going through this stressful process for no apparent reason.”
Ms Edwards added: “While it’s clearly welcome for new claimants, we know thousands of people who are already on PIP have lost support because assessments don’t work for unpredictable conditions like MS.”
The Government however said its just “the first step” in improving the benefit assessment and assured that it will be extended to existing PIP claimants above State Pension age “in the coming months.”
This was a sentiment shared by Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson who said: “The next step is to bring this in for all pensioners.”