Disabled pensioners applying for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) to fund mobility aids and housing adaptations will no longer have to face repeat assessments and may be able to fill in a form rather than undergo face-to-face scrutiny.
Work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, has introduced the new system which will see around 270,000 people able to avoid regular reviews, which have been a matter of controversy in the last couple of years.
The current system sees disabled people having to undergo regular reviews, which see some people lose out on funding if their condition improves for a short while.
The changes will come into effect in spring and will mean that people applying for PIP may now be able to fill in a form instead of visiting an assessor in person.
Recently, there have been strong calls for the PIP system to be reformed. It was revealed in December that nearly 75% of PIP assessment decisions are being overturned, which has fuelled controversy and calls for reform.
Ms Rudd says the changes were inspired by her visually impaired father and are designed to “level the terrain” for disabled people.
Her speech also mentions that she wants to “significantly improve” support for disabled people from the government.
Ms Rudd says: “My father became blind in 1981. For 36 years his blindness was a normal part of my family’s life. Of my life.
“Disabled pensioners have paid into our system for their whole lives and deserve the full support of the state when they need it most.
“The benefits system should be the ally of disabled people. It should protect them and ensure that the assistance the government provides arrives in the right place to those who need it most.”
However, disability charity, Scope, is sceptical of the new plans and notes that younger people will “still be stuck in a failing system”.