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DWP Consultation on proposed changes to PIP

The DWP has today launched a consultation aimed at slashing the number of people eligible for the daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP) by up to 35%. The cuts will be aimed at claimants who qualify for PIP because of their use of aids and appliances and may include replacing awards with discretionary voucher payments.

The press release and consultation document published today claim that 35% of all daily living allowance awards are based solely on the claimant’s need to use aids and appliances.

In addition, the DWP points out that recent upper tribunal decisions have found that a bed, for example, can count as an aid or appliance if a claimant needs to sit on it in order to get dressed.

The DWP argues that the use of readily available or low cost items as aids or appliances isn’t a reliable guide as to whether a person has to meet additional costs because of their disability. As a result the department has launched a brief consultation, ending on 29 January 2016, to decide whether and how to change the system.

The five possible options
Five possible options for change are listed in the document:

1 A lump sum paid to claimants who score all their daily living points from aids and appliances. This could be discretionary and its use limited through the use of vouchers. The awards could be periodic, in order to cover the cost of replacing aids or appliances. It would not passport to other benefits or premiums and would not exempt claimants from the benefits cap. Claimants scoring at least some points from other descriptors would be paid at the relevant weekly rate, as now.

2 A lower monthly payment for claimants who score all their daily living points from aids and appliances. It would not passport to other benefits or premiums and would not exempt claimants from the benefits cap. Claimants scoring at least some points from other descriptors would be paid at the relevant weekly rate, as now.

3 A new condition of entitlement that claimants must score some points from a descriptor that does not relate to aids and appliances. Claimants scoring at least some points from other descriptors would be paid at the relevant weekly rate, as now.

4 A change to the definition of aids and appliances to exclude any that the DWP does not consider are a good indicator of additional cost and need. Claimants who use aids and appliances that are a good indicator of extra costs would be paid at the relevant weekly rate, as now.

5 Halving the number of points that can be scored for the use of aids or appliances from 2 to 1 for some or all daily living activities.

Current claimants
The current PIP eligibility rules will continue to apply until any changes are made.

The consultation document also states that current claimants will not be affected immediately. However, when their award comes up for review or a change of circumstances is reported, then they will be covered by any new rules.

In addition, the DWP have made it clear that they intend to regularly review and cut eligibility to PIP to ensure that it is ‘financially sustainable’ in the future.

How to take part
If you wish to take part in the consultation, you can send your response to:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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