Inclusion London’s evidence to first independent PIP review
Inclusion London’s evidence highlights a number of serious problems with Personal Independence Payment which includes unacceptable delays.
Inclusion London’s evidence highlights a number of serious problems with Personal Independence Payment which includes unacceptable delays; a six month wait for an assessment is not uncommon and the whole process from application to actually receiving the benefit can take a year. High levels of stress and financial difficulties are caused by the long waiting periods, particularly as ‘Passported benefits’ cannot be applied for until PIP has been awarded. Also appointments for assessment are cancelled without notice and awards are not backdated in all cases.
Inclusion London’s position on PIP
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is the new benefit, which helps with some of the extra costs of being disabled. PIP started to replace Disability Living Allowance in April 2013.
Inclusion London believes Disability Living Allowance (DLA) should not have been abolished and replaced by PIP because the assessment process under DLA was already rigorous and also we are very concerned that the tightened eligibility criteria under PIP will leave many in need without support. The reasons for the planned reduction of the case load by 20% under PIP were inadequate, especially as the cost savings are likely to be short term because the lack of support at an early stage is likely to lead to more expensive intervention further down the line. Lastly, concerns continue about the PIP descriptors because they do not accurately capture the impact of some impairments.
While we believe DLA should be reinstated, the difficulties claimants are currently experiencing with the PIP system need to be urgently addressed, so we have made a number of recommendations which are listed in full at the end of the response, with the key ones given below:
- As a matter of urgency an interim payment equivalent to PIP and should be provided for those facing financial hardship due to the delays.
- Plans to extend PIP further to more people must be halted until the waiting times are reduced to a maximum of 3 months.
Long term measures
- To speed the process up for those that are terminally ill, health professionals should be able to email DS1500 forms form directly to the DWP so terminally ill claimants should not have to go through an assessment with Atos or Capita, which delays the process.
- In the majority of cases, evidence from health professionals who know the claimant’s health condition/impairment well, e.g. GP or Hospital consultants) together with a completed self-assessment form should constitute the assessment in the majority of cases. This will give a more accurate assessment and help reduce the delays claimants are experiencing. Face to face assessment should only be carried out in the minority of cases
- The responsibility for collecting the evidence from health professionals must lie with the DWP and claimants should not be asked to pay for the health reports.
- Claimants must receive at least 7 days warning in writing that an assessment has been cancelled.
- Claimants that travel to the assessment centre to discover that their assessment has been cancelled should be have their full travel expenses reimbursed together with the travel expenses of any carer/personal assistant accompanying them.
Claimants awarded PIP
- Claimant’s award should be backed dated from the date of application, including those who previously received DLA.
Financial burden of delays on agencies
- Any costs caused by a delay of more than 3 months (e.g. rehousing costs or overdraft fees) must be paid by the appropriate agency so claimants do not pay for costs caused by the delay.
Inclusion London’s full response is available to download below.
More information about the review is available at:https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/
The consultation document is available at:https://www.gov.uk/government/
 For more details see Inclusion London’s response to the DLA reform consultation at: https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/welfare-reform/inclusion-londons-dla-reform-response/