To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to work with (a) charities and (b) advice centres to improve the advice and support provided to disabled people completing applications and undergoing assessments for benefits.
We are absolutely committed to improving the overall claimant experience as this is what claimants rightly expect and deserve. We continue to engage with charities, academics, think tanks, and disabled people through several forums to ensure that options for improvement are informed by a wide variety of perspectives and views.
Stakeholders are currently involved in our ongoing work on improving the PIP2 questionnaire and design of the Light Touch Review. The PIP Toolkit is accessible to all third parties to assist in the PIP application process. In addition, there is signposting for additional resources on www.gov.uk/PIP. In the 2017 “Improving Lives: The Future of Health, Work and Disability” Command Paper, we committed to reforming the WCA, and to working with external stakeholders to ensure that we get any future changes right.
From 1 April 2019 Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland are now delivering the Help to Claim service which supports claimants in making a new Universal Credit claim or moving from a legacy benefit to Universal Credit because of a change of circumstances. Help to Claim runs alongside the support that Jobcentres can provide and offers tailored, practical support to help people make their claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. It is widely available online, through a Freephone number and face to face through local Citizens Advice services. There is early evidence that the Help to Claim service is supporting those who most struggle to access DWP’s services, particularly those with multiple complex needs and health conditions.