To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of employment and support allowance and personal independence payment assessments in dealing with issues experienced by those suffering from mental illnesses.
Since ESA was introduced, we have made a number of changes to improve the assessment process for people with mental health conditions. We took forward a number of recommendations from Professor Harrington and Dr Litchfield who independently reviewed the WCA, including redesigning the ESA50 claimant questionnaire to make it clear that evidence from healthcare professionals and advocates is particularly valuable in mental health cases. More information regarding these independent reviews can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work-capability-assessment-independent-review-year-1
The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment has been designed to reflect a modern understanding of disability, treating all conditions fairly and focussed on people who need it most. PIP also ensures parity between mental and physical conditions. It achieves this by looking at the overall needs of an individual, not which conditions they have. As a consequence of the introduction of PIP there are more people with mental health conditions receiving the higher rates of both PIP components than the DLA equivalents.
We constantly look to review and improve the experience of claiming PIP and committed to two, statutory independent reviews as part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012. The latest of these reviews, led by Paul Gray, was published on 30 March 2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-pip-assessment-second-independent-review
We are currently considering the review’s findings and plan to respond later this year.