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DR UK in the media over PIP changes

14 March 2016

PIP needs change, but PIP does not need this change

The Government has announced, in its response to the consultation on aids and appliances and the daily living component of PIP, that it intends to implement option five as outlined in the original consultation document.

Option 5 recommended halving the number of points awarded from 2 to 1 for the use of aids and appliances in relation to some or all daily living activities. The Government has chosen to apply this to Activity 5 (Managing toilet needs or incontinence) and Activity 6 (Dressing and undressing) from 1 January 2017. 

Halving the point value of ‘aids and appliances’ descriptors make it harder for many disabled people and people with long-term conditions to qualify for PIP in future. The government’s own response confirms that this will affect around 640,000 people by 2021.

We welcome the decision not to implement any of options 1-4 which were:

  • Option 1 – Paying a lump sum to those using aids and appliances – an inaccurate reflection of the cost of disability
  • Option 2 – Paying a monthly payment which is lower than current PIP daily living rate and which does not act as a passport to other benefits or Carers Allowance for carers.
  • Option 3 – Denying PIP to those who score all their daily living points through the use of aids and appliances
  • Option 4 – Exempting certain aids and appliances from being counted as part of the assessment

These would have had a devastating effect on those claiming PIP. However we regret that the Government has decided to choose option 5, albeit for only two daily living activities.

In order to qualify for the daily living component under the current assessment, a person must have been assessed as relying on the use of aids and appliances in four fundamental areas. We believe this is a sufficiently high threshold in order to qualify for PIP in this way.

What we want for PIP

The main disadvantage to the current system of PIP descriptors, is that it does not accurately take into account the broad additional costs that many disabled people face as a result of their condition outside of the narrow focus of the daily living activities.

For example, the PIP assessment fails to take into account the additional costs of high heating bills if a person is housebound, or increased water bills because a person is incontinent and must regularly wash their clothes.

We would like to see an assessment which accurately reflect these additional costs.

However, the current system represents a significant improvement over all of the suggested options in the consultation.

PIP needs change, but PIP does not need this change.

DR UK in the media about PIP changes

Over the weekend Liz Sayce and Disability Rights UK were quoted over the proposed changes to the aids and adaptations scores for PIP. Here is a selection

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/personal-independence-payments-cut-strip-7540344

www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/12/disability-benefit-cuts-could-see-500000-people-lose-150-a-week

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/budget-2016-george-osborne-to-use-a-cut-in-benefit-payments-to-disabled-people-to-fund-a-middle-a6927056.html

www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article4711895.ece

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/georgeosborne/12191676/George-Osborne-clears-path-for-tax-cuts-in-Budget-with-1bn-benefits-raid.html

www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/government-backs-fairer-disability-payments-after-charitys-criticism-34533938.html