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Government yet to back down on dangerous changes to PIP

Friday 07-04-2017 - 10:08

After pressure from the public, charities and the House of Lords, a further emergency debate has been called in the House of Commons about the changes the government wants to make to eligibility for Personal Independence Payment.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit awarded to cover the extra costs that disabled people face, and is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance.

Recently it was ruled that people who need support to make journeys because of overwhelming psychological distress should get a higher rate of PIP. While the government maintain that someone with a mental health problem can score the highest points on mobility activity alone, Paul Farmer, the Chief Executive of Mind, has stated:

“We do not believe this is correct. While those who experience symptoms such as confusion or disorientation may remain eligible, the new guidance issued recently to assessors from the Department for Work and Pensions makes clear that psychological distress alone, even if it is totally debilitating, is not sufficient to score the highest rate.”

Our 2015 survey found eight out of 10 students had experienced mental health issues in the previous year, and our 2013 survey found that 10 per cent of students reported a diagnosed mental illness. The government’s changes to eligibility to PIP will hit people with mental health problems the worst and may affect 160,000 people with, for example, severe anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia.

Today, as World Health Day 2017 sheds a light on mental health, we continue to ask this government to stop this changes which unfairly target people with mental health conditions. The Government has now scheduled a debate and vote for Wednesday 19 April.

Here’s what you can do:

Email and Tweet your MP asking them to attend the debate and vote to annul the regulations. You can find out who your MP is by entering your postcode here.

Tweet your MP using the sample tweet below. You can find out your MP’s Twitter handle here

@[MPTwitterHandle] The #PIP regulations pose a serious threat to disabled students. Please attend debate on 19 April and vote to annul.

 

James Elliott
NUS Disabled Students' Officer

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