moneyMore than half of people with mental ill health who received Disability Living Allowance (DLA) have had their benefit rate cut after being reassessed for Personal Independent Payment (PIP), new government figures have shown.

New statistics from by the Department for Work and Pensions show that 135,600 people with mental health problems were reassessed between April 2013 and October 2016 as part of the move from DLA to PIP. Of those, 74,580 (55%) either had their award reduced or withdrawn all together.

More specifically, 62% of people with personality disorders had their benefit reduced or withdrawn. In addition, 57% of people experiencing psychosis had their benefit reduced or withdrawn, as did 52% of those with a behavioural disorder and 49% classified as having psychoneurosis.

PIP helps with the extra costs associated with having a disability, such as transport and heating. PIP is gradually replacing DLA and, as part of the move, recipients have to be reassessed. People can receive PIP whether they are in paid employment or out of work but applicants must first be assessed to determine whether or not they’re eligible for the benefit. 

Vicki Nash, policy and campaigns manager at mental health charity Mind, said the data was: “A huge cause for concern, but not surprising as they echo what we hear every day from the people we support, many of whom are being told they are no longer eligible for this support. Even though these data show high amounts of people losing their support, these statistics only tell half the story as they don’t include people who may have a mental health problem alongside another primary condition or the hundreds of thousands of people with mental health problems who are making a claim for the first time.

“Hundreds of thousands of people with mental health problems rely on DLA and PIP to help them get the support they need to stay well. Often we hear from people with mental health problems who tell us that they dread the face-to-face assessments which rarely take into account their mental health. In the same way we need reforms to the Work Capability Assessment currently used to determine whether someone is eligible for Employment and Support Allowance, we also urgently need the government to overhaul the PIP assessment process to make sure it is fit for purpose and delivered by people who really understand how someone’s mental health problem can affect their daily life.”