HUNDREDS of thousands on Universal Credit face losing a top-up worth £390 under a new rule proposal.
It's feared that 373,000 could have their limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) payments stopped.
Households eligible for LCWRA payments usually have a health condition which prevents or limits their ability to work.
Right now, these claimants have to undergo a work capability assessment (WCA) to decide whether they're capable of working and if they're eligible for the free top-up worth £390 a month.
Customers have to fill in a questionnaire and attend a medical assessment before a decision is made.
However, the Chancellor announced in his Spring Budget that WCAs will be scrapped as well as LCWRA payments.
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Instead, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will introduce a new Universal Credit "Health Element" for those already claiming personal independence payments (PIP).
PIP assessments which are already separate from WCAs will then be used to assess if someone is eligible for the new Health Element – but those not claiming PIP could be deemed ineligible for the extra cash.
James Taylor, director of strategy at disability equality charity Scope, told The Sun: "It's appalling that hundreds of thousands of disabled people are potentially at risk of losing benefits from these proposals.
"With such huge numbers involved this move feels purposely designed rather than an oversight or a crack in the system.
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"The WCA and the PIP assessment are designed to do different things. Whilst it is positive the WCA is being abolished, the level of financial support it can unlock for disabled people does not exist in PIP."
PIP is available for those aged 16 or over who have not reached the state pension age.
The benefit can be worth up to £156.90 a week, so it's worth checking if you can make a claim.
To qualify, you have to have a health condition or disability where you either have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for three months.
In fear that hundreds of thousands receiving LCWRA payments could still lose out, shadow secretary of state for work and pensions Jonathan Ashworth asked the Government what will be done to protect these claimants.
In response to his written question, Tom Pursglove, minister of state for disabled people, health and work said: "We will put protections in place to ensure that no one experiences financial loss at the point at which the reform is enacted.
"For the group who receive the LCWRA payment, but not PIP, there will be transitional protection at the point that they move to the new system.
"We are committed to protecting those claimants who are currently treated as LCWRA due to pregnancy risk, or because they are about to receive, receiving, or recovering from, treatment for cancer by way of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
The DWP confirmed to The Sun that it will provide new detail on how these claimants can access the new Universal Credit health top-up if they're not in receipt of PIP at a later date.
Here's everything you need to know about the changes:
What's happening to LCWRA payments?
The Government will axe both work capability assessments (WCAs) and limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) payments.
LCWRA payments will be replaced by a new Universal Credit "Health Element" which will automatically be given to those claiming personal independence payments (PIP).
PIP comes with its own separate health assessment and this will be used to confirm a Universal Credit claimant's eligibility for the new Health Element.
Those who don't claim pip but do get LCWRA payments will receive "transitional protection" when the payments are scrapped by the Government.
But for now, it remains unclear how they'll then receive the Universal Credit Health Element after these transitional payments stop unless they launch a successful claim for PIP.
When will the changes take place?
The government published a Health and Disability White Paper on the same day the Chancellor delivered his Spring Budget.
The scrapping of WCAs and LCWRA payments form part of this White Paper and will need to be presented to Parliament after a consultation process before it comes into law.
The legislation is expected to pass through Parliament in the 2026/27 financial year.
It will then take three years to roll out the new proposals which are expected to be completed by 2029.
What can I do in the meantime?
If you receive Universal Credit and LCWRA payments it's still worth checking if you're eligible for PIP because you can claim both.
The payments can be worth up to £156.90 a week, so if you don't claim already it's well worth seeing if you're eligible.
PIP is available to those aged 16 or over but not yet at the state pension age.
Crucially, you must also have a health condition or disability where you either have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for three months, and you expect these difficulties to continue for at least nine months (unless you’re terminally ill with less than six months to live).
Difficulties with daily living can include:
- Preparing or eating food
- Washing, bathing and using the toilet
- Dressing and undressing
- Reading and communicating
- Managing your medicines or treatments
- Making decisions about money
- Engaging with other people
You can claim PIP at the same time as other benefits, except the armed forces' independence payment.
PIP is made up of two parts and whether you get one or both of these depends on how severely your condition affects you.
How much you get also depends on how your condition affects you.
You may get the mobility part of PIP if you need help going out or moving around. The weekly rate for this is either £24.45 or £64.50.
While on the daily living part of PIP, the weekly rate is either £61.85 or £92.40 – and you could get both elements, so up to £156.90 in total.
You’ll be assessed by a health professional to work out the level of help you can get and your rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you’re getting the right support.
You can make a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim by calling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222.
When you claim, you'll need:
- Your contact details
- Date of birth
- National Insurance number
- Bank or building society account number and sort code
- Your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number
- Dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital
Someone else can call on your behalf, but you'll need to be with them when they call.
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You'll then be sent a form to fill in, after which you'll be invited for an assessment or your health or social care worker will be asked for information.
After this, you'll be sent a letter telling you if your claim has been successful.
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