People with MND face on average extra costs of £12,000 a year, even before loss of earnings is taken into account. Benefits therefore play a key role in supporting people with MND and so it is vital the benefits system works for those affected by this devastating disease.
Too many people with MND have difficulty accessing benefits like Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP), because the system is too complex, often too slow to respond, and people with MND are unnecessarily reassessed. Reassessing people with MND is pointless because the condition only gets worse, not better. It causes unnecessary stress and anxiety, and it is a waste of public money.
Open letter to Sarah Newton, Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health
In November 2017 we launched an open letter to Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, calling for an end to benefits reassessments for people with MND. Huge numbers of people backed the #ScrapReassessments campaign, with almost 8,000 people adding their name to the letter over a period of 8 weeks, to show the strength of public support behind scrapping reassessments for people with MND.
We have secured a meeting with the Minister, due to take place in early February, where we will present the letter along with signatures of supporters. To find out more and read our campaign updates, please visit 'Make benefits work for MND'.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Earlier this year, the Government announced that in future people placed in the support group for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) with 'severe and lifelong conditions' will be exempt from reassessments for that benefit. However, we are disappointed this does not apply to around 600 people with MND already in the support group, who will be expected to undergo a further reassessment before they are finally exempt.
We have had assurances from the former Minister that the impact of this process will be kept to an absolute minimum, however people are rightly upset and concerned that they may face another unnecessary and unwarranted process.
We are calling for urgent action on reassessing people currently in the support group for ESA, and an end to reassessments for people with MND claiming the enhanced rates for PIP.