Major review of PIP applications – what you need to know Written by Mary Ferguson on Tuesday 27th of February 2018. At the end of January, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) caused ripples when it announced that every person receiving Personal Independence Payments (PIP) would have their claim reviewed. It revealed that, following a court ruling that deemed changes to PIP were unfair to people with mental health conditions, 1.6million claims will be looked at again. Around 220,000 people are expected to receive more money. Why has this happened? In 2017, changes were made to PIP that meant people who were unable to travel independently on the ground of ‘psychological distress’ could not claim the enhanced mobility rate. But in December, the High Court ruled the changes breached the human rights of people with psychiatric problems, and the government announced it would not appeal against the judgement. As a result, a total of 1.6million of the main disability benefit claims will be reviewed – at an estimated cost to the government of up to £3.7billion. The process is expected to last up until 2023. What does this mean? This, of course, is big news for the PH community. The Living with PH survey, conducted by the PHA UK in 2016, revealed that 87 per cent of patients believe having pulmonary hypertension impacts on their mental and emotional wellbeing. And we know that accessing PIP, and appealing if necessary, is difficult and draining for many. The results of our most recent research into the financial impact of PH will be published imminently, and will serve as concrete evidence of this and many other factors relating to benefits and financial support. Plus, the results of another major piece of research into the lived experience of PH, conducted by the PHA UK in partnership with the University of Manchester, has recently been accepted for publication in the prestigious BMJ Open Journal – providing further evidence of the mental and emotional impact of PH. As well as providing important evidence, both these pieces of research will also provide reference points for how PH affects mental wellbeing and finances. (However, it’s vital that when completing applications for PIP or any other welfare benefit, you emphasise how your condition affects you personally.) Our hope is that the results of these research pieces will help make it easier for patients to get what they are entitled to during any review process. Our advice Reviewing 1.6million claims will take a long time, and our advice to you right now is not to do anything unless you are approached by the DWP. Demanding a re-assessment may be counter-productive, and we need to know more about how the review will be rolled out. The PHA UK will be keeping a close eye on developments, and we will update you as soon as we can. In the meantime, keep an eye on our website and social media. Watch this space!