Consultation: replacement for DLA (by 14 Feb)

Personal Independence Payment – consultation ends on 14/2/11

Disability Living Allowance is to be replaced by a new benefit called a Personal Independence Payment. While the new benefit resembles DLA, there are some significant differences that could make life more difficult for disabled people.

On 6/12/10, the Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller announced the plans for this Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and asked disabled people and their organisations to comment.

Maria Miller states that: ‘We are steadfast in our support for the principles of DLA, as a non-means-tested cash benefit contributing to the extra costs incurred by disabled people.’ Despite this positive commitment, this change is being made in the context of the Government’s stated ambition to cut the amount they spend on welfare benefits.

Particular concerns have been raised. One is about the way the new benefit will take into account what ‘aids and adaptations’ are already used by the person claiming the benefit. It has been suggested that, for instance, wheelchair users might find the amount of money they receive for getting around reduced, because the wheelchair that they already have makes mobility less of a problem for them.

Another concern is that PIPs will be ‘periodically reviewed’. Currently, those who have impairments that were medically unlikely to ever improve are not reviewed. Additionally, people with certain impairments automatically get DLA at present. The plan is that everyone will have to attend a PIP assessment. These measures are likely to increase the administration costs of the benefit.

Merseyside Disability Federation would encourage interested groups to join in this consultation. It closes on 14/2/11, but you can easily comment online.

http://dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2010/dla-reform.shtml

This government site also includes links to the background documents that explain their proposals in more detail.

If you want to read more about this, see this article in Disability Now:
http://www.disabilitynow.org.uk/living/features/pip-replacement

There is a very personal criticism of the proposals in this blog:
http://www.arbitraryconstant.co.uk/2010/12/dla-reform-cons.html