Spartacus Network report rejects the government’s proposed changes to PIP
Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey. We asked what your thoughts were about the Government’s proposed changes to the way the use of aids and appliances are scored in PIP assessments. You almost unanimously rejected all of the DWP’s 5 options, each of which would substantially reduce eligibility to PIP for disabled people who need aids and appliances in their daily life and deny them the vital support to live with dignity and choice.
Crippling Choices argues that the use of aids and appliances was introduced to PIP assessments as evidence of functional limitations, not for covering the cost of specific aids or appliances, therefore the DWP’s issue of whether an aid is low cost or commonly used is irrelevant.
Needing to use an aid or appliance in at least four out of ten selective activities of daily living demonstrates an overall functional limitation that causes significant costs. The DWP should not be seeking to reduce the pay-out to people who qualify in this manner.
PIP has been deliberately designed to rely on ten specific activities as a proxy for all areas of disability-related cost (except for getting around outside the home). Some people with significant costs in areas not assessed by PIP may only qualify for PIP on the aids and appliances rules; it is vital to keep these in in order to ensure that they continue to act as a proxy measure for these other areas.
The report also criticises the quality of the government’s consultation on PIP reform to aids and appliances. Among other failings, it argues that the DWP has not provided any adequate or robust evidence that people receiving PIP on the basis of aids and appliances do not have any further costs. The DWP cites a review, but does not provide copies of this review. This is a major failing as respondents cannot comment on the adequacy of the methods used and the interpretation of the results.
Hold the government to account
In 2010 the Coalition Government promised that:
“Personal Independence Payment will remain an extra-costs benefit, providing cash support and allowing disabled people to spend the benefit in the way which best meets their individual needs.”
DWP Disability Living Allowance reform December 2010
We must hold the current government to account on PIP. The replacement of DLA with PIP was already controversial for its planned 20% cut in expenditure and for reducing support to people with substantial mobility difficulties via the “20metre rule”. Now, after only two years of partial take up there is a suggestion of reform to further reduce eligibility and expenditure and to undermine the personal budget principles it was designed on.
Please write to your MP. Use this blog post as a letter template, add your own concerns and send them a copy of the Crippling Choices report