Have your say on the future of the benefits system
A new Health and Disability Green Paper has been launched by the UK Government which will pave the way for a fairer future of the benefits system to better meet the needs of disabled people and those with health conditions.
The consultation includes changes which could:
- Enable independent living and testing the role of advocacy so people who need extra help to navigate the benefits system get the right level of support and information first time.
- Review how assessments are carried out including exploring the potential for longer-term use of telephone and video assessments and looking at how reassessments work including testing a new Severe Disability Group (SDG) for people with severe and life-long conditions that will not improve. This could see those who meet the criteria experiencing a more simplified application process, without the need for an assessment to receive financial support
- Improve support for disabled people to help them start, stay and succeed in work through the Work and Health Programme, Access to Work and on personalising employment support, recognising that one size does not fit all.
The Green Paper builds on the recent announcement that people entering the final year of their life will have fast-track access to the benefits system. The six-month rule for people nearing the end of their lives claiming benefits will be replaced with a new 12-month, end of life approach, mirroring the current definition of end of life used across the NHS.
Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People, said: “I am incredibly pleased that in the course of putting this consultation together, we have been able to identify key themes for improvement. We already spend a record amount supporting disabled people and people with health conditions and have made good progress at supporting more disable people into work but we are ambitious for further improvement – and I am grateful to the disabled people and stakeholders who have contributed so far.”
In addition, the Government has also published its response to Health is Everyone’s Business consultation reaffirming the Government’s ambition to see 1million more disabled people in work by 2027 and outlining how employers will be supported on recruitment, retraining and career progression for disabled people.
The Health and Disability Green paper is open for 12 weeks and will run alongside a series of consultation events with disabled people and those with health conditions and their representatives.
This will include events through virtual channels and face-to-face events covering England, Scotland and Wales, in order to maximise the reach of the consultation and inform changes that will improve people’s lives.
Following the consultation, detailed proposals will be brought forward in a White Paper next year, setting out how people can be enabled to take up work and live more independently, and outline the changes the Government wants to make to the benefits system.
The Health and Disability green paper can be read in full here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/shaping-future-support-the-health-and-disability-green-paper