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Civil servant says DWP wants to merge PIP and Universal Credit

30 November 2021

A DWP civil servant has told a disability charity that the Government plans to merge PIP with Universal Credit, although not for at least six years, Disability News Service has reported.

The admission from a DWP civil servant – albeit not a senior executive – is the first time that anyone from the Department has explicitly stated that it has plans to scrap PIP and combine it with Universal Credit.

The comments were made during a presentation about Universal Credit given to the disability organisation DASH in Hillingdon, north-west London, earlier this month.

In advance of the meeting, the DWP partnership adviser had been shown the link to a Disability News Service (DNS) article which reported suggestions that ministers were considering creating a new single benefit through merging PIP and Universal Credit.

He appeared to confirm that when he told the meeting that the Department’s vision was for all benefits to be included in the means tested Universal Credit system, including PIP, which is intended to contribute to the impairment-related costs faced by working-age disabled people.

He said DWP was looking at rolling PIP into Universal Credit from 2028 at the earliest, and that the ultimate plan was for there to be just one benefit, Universal Credit.

DWP has confirmed that the comments were made but it insisted that they came from a junior member of staff during a private training session and were not representative of the Department’s views.

It also said that it had no plans to merge PIP and Universal Credit from 2028.

A possible merger between the non-means-tested PIP and the means-tested Universal Credit was first suggested in July in the Health and Disability green paper, Shaping Future Support.

But the concerns were heightened last month when work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey conceded that “everything is on the table” when asked by DNS at her party conference whether a merger was being considered.

 Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said:

“Unfortunately, a possible future merger of PIP and Universal Credit is not a fanciful one.

The recent Health and Disability Green Paper suggests the idea of a ‘single new benefit’.

However, this would be unacceptable as it would likely exclude many Disabled people who rely on PIP to try to maintain independence.

And the whole purpose of PIP is to compensate for the extra costs of disability.

The benefits payable in recognition of the extra costs of disability (such as DLA, PIP and AA) are not means-tested for good reason.

They recognise that such costs arise at any level of income.

Nor are they contribution based, in recognition of the fact that many Disabled people will not have had the opportunity to build up contribution records.

DR UK vehemently opposes a single income replacement and extra costs benefit that would introduce means-testing into extra costs disability benefits.”

Source and for further information see Civil servant says DWP wants to merge PIP and Universal Credit available from disabilitynewsservice.com.