Disabled mum calls PIP hospitalisation rule ‘cruel’ & urges DWP to make the system fairer | Personal Finance | Finance


Under the “hospitalisation rule”, people who claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) have their payments suspended by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if they receive care in hospital for 28 days or more. A BBC Freedom of Information request found over the last three years, the total of PIP suspensions under the hospitalisation rule in the UK increased from 30,860 in the first few months of 2020 to 45,850 in the same period in 2022. It also found the highest number of PIP suspensions were for people who had mental health conditions.

Kath, 57, from Bristol, suffered from a stroke several years ago and now requires a wheelchair and carers to live her daily life. She had previously had her PIP stopped after she was in hospital for almost six weeks a few years ago and said the stress of the situation she “would not wish on anyone”.

Earlier this year she had to go in again and said the “worry” and “anxiety” she felt most likely “slowed down” her recovery.

Kath told Express.co.uk: “I was sat in bed on the tenth day and I just cried, honestly, just burst into tears because I knew I only had a set amount of time to get better and get out until they were stopped.

“The nurse told me that I wasn’t helping myself by worrying but I couldn’t help it, it was all I could think about being sat on the ward.

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“I could feel it on my chest and it honestly made me feel nauseous but I just couldn’t go through having to sort it out again.”

Kath had her PIP stopped back in 2019 and said it took weeks to get them reinstated again even though the payments are meant to begin again as soon as someone comes out.

Kath said without the “generosity of her friends” she wouldn’t know how she would’ve managed.

She said: “I rang and emailed constantly, I tweeted the DWP a few times too, getting through to them is not easy.

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The main concern shared is that people will be jeopardising their health in order to keep receiving their benefits.

Last month, Cameron Mitchell, 20, from Carlisle, was set to challenge the lawfulness of the hospitalisation rule through a judicial review after he lost his benefit payments after spending 128 days at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

According to Cameron’s family, they lost more than £5,000 in benefit payments, which included PIP and Carer’s Allowance, when their son was in hospital.

Kath does believe that the rule needs to be looked into and made fairer or be scrapped altogether.

She said: “It’s just not right, especially right now, disabled people are a vulnerable group and making them worry about money whilst they worry about their health and life in hospital is not right at all, it’s just cruel.”

Kath believes that the rule is “discriminatory” towards disabled people as they’re more likely to have longer stays in hospital due to their medical condition.

She added: “It’s just a fact of life. It’s like a cold can turn into a chest infection which could turn into pneumonia, I know that sounds dramatic but it’s true it’s never as simple as you get ill and then better so they’re more likely to get caught out by the rule.”

Others share Kath’s feelings on the DWP’s hospitalisation rules with many sharing their frustrations with the system online.

One Twitter user, @zahrapsych, said: “I think it’s awful that PIP stops when you’re in hospital. I get that it’s for the additional things you need because of your disability and hospitals are meant to provide those in place of the PIP but they really don’t offer those things. Disabled in or out of hospital!”

Another Twitter user @theonlyjld said: “I use PIP to pay my bills… once that’s done there isn’t really anything left for the extra costs of being disabled. I’d still have to pay rent etc if I was in hospital so if my PIP stopped I’d end up with rent arrears and other debt. Awful system.”

Another user, @ks2stoneage, agreed with Kath that the system needed changing tweeting: “The whole PIP thing is an absolute farce and urgently needs re-assessing and upgrading, it’s little more than pocket money anyway, joke of a country!”

A DWP spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring that disabled people get all the support to which they are entitled.

“It is a long-standing rule that payment of extra costs benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment, is suspended after the first 28 days in a hospital or similar institution, to avoid double provision from public funds.

“DLA, PIP or AA payments will be paid again as soon as you come out of hospital. We encourage those in receipt of these benefits to inform the DWP when they have left hospital to ensure they receive their payments again.”



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