I believe it is crucial to support people with health conditions and disabilities into work, where they can, and to live independently. Part of my role as the local MP is helping people claim PIP and I recognise thre are issues with the current assessment process.
That is why I am glad the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has established the Health Transformation Programme. It will carry out the task of transitioning the currently separate WCA for ESA and UC, and the PIP assessment services into one integrated service from 2021. To support this, the DWP is developing a single digital platform, which will increase information-sharing across these services. I hope it will also enable a greater range of assessment providers to compete to help us deliver this important service in the future.
I believe the new service will enable a more personalised journey for claimants with more opportunities to drive their own journey where they are able to, and to keep track of progress. An integrated approach will also allow for a more joined-up claimant experience across these benefits, which takes account of the multiple interactions an individual may have with DWP. This strategic transformation will also open up new opportunities to improve functional assessments in the future.
I also warmly welcome the announcement that the DWP will improve and simplify the customer experience by no longer undertaking regular reviews of PIP awards for claimants at or above State Pension age unless they tell the DWP that their needs have changed.
These improvements will make significant progress in better supporting those with health conditions and disabilities, but this is only the start.