In today’s Spring Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond made no mention of the Government’s plans to change the way Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is awarded in the future. PIP is awarded to cover the extra costs that disabled people face, and is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance.
Recently the courts ruled that people who find it difficult to leave the house because of psychological distress should be able to receive the higher rate of PIP. But two weeks ago, the Government announced that they want to change the law so that they don’t have to follow the court’s ruling.
The budget was an opportunity for the Government to show it has listened to the concerns of many that this change in the law discriminates against people with mental health problems and will leave many people without the support they need.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “People who find it difficult to leave the house because of anxiety, panic attacks, and other mental health problems are as restricted in their independence as many people with physical mobility problems, and face just as many higher costs in their daily lives as other disabled people do. The Government’s changes to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) could affect over 160,000 people with mental health problems – both in and out of work – who have extra costs related to their disability.
“These proposed changes could prevent people accessing the financial support they need to get to health or job appointments, get out to pay for fuel and heating, take their children to school or see friends and family – things essential to their daily lives and recovery, things essential to preventing isolation. The Government says that it is committed to treating mental health as seriously as physical health, but these proposals call this commitment into question. These misguided proposals must be reversed.
“Mind is determined to stop these changes going through. These changes are coming into force on March 16th so we have to act fast. We’ve been talking to MPs and members of the House of Lords, urging them to help us stop these changes from happening. Our legal team is also looking into a possible legal challenge if this legislation comes into force.”
For more information on Mind’s work click here