Department for Work and Pensions
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Disabled people to have their say in shaping the future of the benefits system

The new Health and Disability Green Paper – launched yesterday – will pave the way for a fairer future of the benefits system to better meet the needs of disabled people and those with health conditions.

The consultation includes changes which could:

  • Enable independent living and testing the role of advocacy, so people who need extra help to navigate the benefits system get the right level of support and information first time.
  • Review how assessments are carried out including exploring the potential for longer-term use of telephone and video assessments and looking at how reassessments work, including testing a new Severe Disability Group (SDG) for people with severe and life-long conditions that will not improve. This could see those who meet the criteria experiencing a more simplified application process, without the need for an assessment to receive financial support
  • Improve support for disabled people to help them start, stay and succeed in work through the Work and Health Programme, Access to Work and on personalising employment support, recognising that one size does not fit all.

The Green Paper builds on the recent announcement that people entering the final year of their life will have fast-track access to the benefits system. The 6-month rule for people nearing the end of their lives claiming benefits will be replaced with a new 12-month, end of life approach, mirroring the current definition of end of life used across the NHS.

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said:

I am incredibly pleased that in the course of putting this consultation together, we have been able to identify key themes for improvement.

We already spend a record amount supporting disabled people and people with health conditions, and have made good progress at supporting more disabled people into work but we are ambitious for further improvement – and I am grateful to the disabled people and stakeholders who have contributed so far.

In addition, the government publishes its response to the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation, reaffirming the government’s ambition to see 1 million more disabled people in work by 2027 and outlining how employers will be supported on recruitment, retraining and career progression for disabled people.

The Health and Disability Green Paper is open for 12 weeks, and will run alongside a series of consultation events with disabled people and those with health conditions, and their representatives.

This will include events through virtual channels and face-to-face events covering England, Scotland and Wales, in order to maximise the reach of the consultation and inform changes that will improve people’s lives.

Following the consultation, detailed proposals will be brought forward in a White Paper next year, setting out how people can be enabled to take up work and live more independently, and outline the changes the government wants to make to the benefits system.

Additional information:

  • The themes and content of the Green Paper have been shaped by engagement with disabled people and their representatives. The department has held a series of face-to-face events across the country, where it has heard from disabled people about their real-lived experiences with DWP services.
  • During the Covid-19 pandemic this work continued, with a series of virtual events organised with national charities. This engagement work will continue throughout the formal consultation period and beyond.
  • The Health and Disability Green Paper can be read in full here.
  • For more details on the review into how the benefits system supports people nearer the end of their life, visit
  • The full response to Health is Everyone’s Business is available here.
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