NEWS: DWP ‘Severe Disability Group’ (SDG)

Hi folks,

Just got this email update from the Benefit and Work website (see below) It mentions ’ PIP was rushed and badly designed’.

All the best.

Testing a Severe Disability Group

The DWP have decided not to introduce a minimum award duration for PIP. Instead, the number of repeat assessments may be cut by the introduction of a ‘Severe Disability Group’ (SDG).

The DWP say: “People who do not come within the special rules for terminal illness may still have severe and lifelong conditions that will not improve. These people are unlikely ever to work again and will always need extra financial support to live independently.”

The intention is to place people in this position into the SDG so that they “can benefit from a simplified process without ever needing to complete a detailed application form or go through an assessment.”

The DWP say they are “working with a group of health and social care professionals to help us develop the criteria for the SDG and identify the evidence that would be required to meet them. We will consult with charities and disabled people’s organisations on the criteria.”

Increasing holistic decision making

The DWP say they introduced ‘holistic’ decision making at the PIP mandatory reconsideration stage in 2019. Since doing so the percentage of decision changed at MR stage has nearly doubled and there has been a decrease in the percentage of appeals lodged.

Holistic decision making has since been introduced at MR for ESA and UC and the DWP are now also using it to make the first decision about entitlement following a health assessment on ESA, PIP and UC.

Essentially holistic decision making simply seems to mean staff spending more time making decisions, collecting more evidence and speaking directly to the claimant.

Changing the Special Rules for Terminal Illness
The period in which a person can claim under the Special Rules for Terminal Illness is to be extended from within six months of their expected death to 12 months.

However, legislation will be needed to introduce this change and so far no date has been given for the new laws to be put in place.

PIP was rushed and badly designed
The DWP have come as close as they are ever likely to come to admitting that PIP was rushed and badly designed. Looking at the frequent successful legal challenges to PIP, the Green paper says:

“While it is normal for the courts to test new legislation, the extent of challenge and the success rate suggest that some aspects of the PIP assessment criteria would have benefitted from further testing before PIP was introduced.”

When PIP was brought in, the stated intention was that it would cut the benefits bill by 20% compared to DLA. In fact, it is costing between £1-2bn more than DLA would have cost.

The DWP say that “Implementing the required changes following successful legal cases is one of many reasons why the cost of PIP has increased.”

Have your say
You can download a copy of Shaping Future Support from this link You can also download a response form from the same page if you wish to take part in the consultation.

Alternatively, you can [complete an online consultation form]

(Shaping future support: The Health and Disability Green Paper - Department for Work and Pensions - Citizen Space).

The closing date is 11 October, with a White Paper due to be published in mid 2022.

Thanks for this - I always felt that people with certain conditions needed to be looked at differently than the present system

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Would you believe it Fay, that was the one B&W email I didn’t read!! I always read them…

The DWP interpretation of ‘holistic’ seems a bit nonsensical. Holistic generally means looking at something as a whole, so bringing all facets together. They seem to think it means taking a bit more time and, would you believe it, doing their job properly!!

I suspect that actually the idea about an SDP has already been used for a couple of years. That’s why people like you and I were given minimum 10 year full awards and the suggestion of ‘light touch’ renewals. Kind of testing the idea out (imagine that?) but undercover! Sneaky. Now who would ever have guessed the DWP were sneaky?!

Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

(How are you doing anyway? It’s been a while since I saw any posts from you. Not a surprise, given the weird nature of the new forum! Maybe the developers took some lessons from a certain Department which has to do with welfare and benefits? Albeit rather badly!)


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Hi sue,
Hope you are well. Yes, I have been absent for a while with symptoms getting the better of me.

I’m typing with my middle finger on good right-hand, but it makes my whole arm go numb and heavy. My left-hand is now in a splint to keep my fingers from curling under. It is next to useless - I can’t hold a cup or do up buttons - so I’m trying to adapt to a ‘new normal’.

I check emails in the morning but tend to skip social media - but I will make an effort to follow-up on the DWP developments re. ‘Severe Disability Group’ (SDG). PIP reform has been such a long time coming - so much stress and suffering.

Hopefully, all those with neurodegenerative diseases will be automatically sifted into the SDG.

All the best.


Doesn’t MS plss you off? You get used to living with a certain level of disability, then MS decides that’s not enough, here’s a bit more cr@p to deal with.

As you say, a new normal. I’m doing OKish. My mobility / transferring etc is worse than it was. So my OH now has to pull my pants down as well as pull them up. My bowels are giving me hell and just everything seems a bit harder than it was. New normal!!


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