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PIP replacement part of new user-led plan to transform the social security system

31 January 2022

Radical proposals have been launched by a user-led commission for sweeping reform of the social security system that include a new “extra costs” benefit for disabled people.

The Commission on Social Security - led by experts by experience - argues that the current working-age benefits system should be replaced by something with something that is no longer “guided by stereotypes and myths about Disabled people and people in poverty”.

All the Commissioners had lived experience of the social security system.

The Plan for a Decent Social Security System calls for the following transformational changes:

  • Everyone would be treated with dignity and respect
  • Nobody would ever have less than half the minimum wage –
    currently £163.50 a week - to live on, because of the Guaranteed Decent Income (GDI)
  • The Joseph Rowntree Foundation Minimum Income Standards for what amount of money is needed for an acceptable standard of living would be ensured
  • Child benefit of £50 per child each week
  • The importance of other factors in providing social security – good jobs, housing, childcare and so on – would be recognised and acted on

The Commission’s proposed GDI would:

  • replace Universal Credit and all other legacy benefits.
  • have no sanctions, no benefit cap, no five week wait and no
    two child limit
  • meet the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Minimum Income Standards for what amount of money is needed for an acceptable standard of living
  • include a Disability Supplement that would be separate to a new disability benefit to replace PIP

In terms of a new disability benefit to replace PIP,  the Commission proposes a new non-means-tested benefit to cover the extra costs that Disabled people face due to illness/impairments, based on the social model of disability.

The Commission proposes the following framework for developing
the new benefit:

  • Designed In full co-production with Disabled  people. (Principles
    Annual uprating, no one financially worse off, as little burden on
    claimants as possible for assessment and review, awarded based on need (not top down targets), no risk that anyone will be left with nothing at any point
  • Individualised assessments based on the claimant’s self-identified support needs and testimony
  • A collaborative approach to decision making; assessors/decision makers to have in depth training and understanding of the social model of disability, and impairment and illness awareness
  • More paper based decisions; if decision cannot be made just on
    paper evidence then assessment venue and type to be of claimant’s choosing. All forms and communication to be available in accessible formats
  • Free advocacy provided by user led services; fast, accessible,
    transparent appeals process
  • Take account of a person’s full circumstances such as the need for a buddy when travelling or the multiple access barriers Deaf people face
  • No separate care and mobility components; lifetime awards to be available; longer gaps between reviews

The new disability benefit’s payment rates would be: Lower - £83.70 per week; Middle - £152.15per week; Higher - £230.77 per week.

The lower rate matches what someone would currently get if they
received the PIP standard rate for both daily living and mobility.

The middle rate matches what someone would currently get if they
received the PIP enhanced rate for both daily living and mobility. It is
above the £134.54 per week amount that research by Scope in 2019
found was the average additional cost that disabled people face.

The higher rate works out at £1,000 per month. Scope’s research

found that 1 in 5 disabled adults and nearly one quarter of families
with a disabled child face extra costs of over £1,000 per month.

Further information about the Plan for a Decent Social Security System

is available at commissiononsocialsecurity.org.

This includes:

  • The Plan as an Easy Read document
  • A pre-recorded Questions and Answers interview between Commission Co-chair, Ellen Morrison, and Dr Kate Summers who is a British Academy Fellow in the Methodology Department at the London School of Economics (the recording has British Sign Language interpretation and captions)
  • An audio version of The Plan, read by Commissioners
  • A full Project Report
  • A Technical Report.