PIP assessment threat to mobility

PIP assessment threat to mobility

The broad concerns expressed about the Government’s proposed change from DLA to PIP have concentrated on a general threat to disabled people’s income. But Helen Dolphin points out that there is a particular threat coming down the road in relation to travel.

Like many disabled people I am becoming increasingly concerned by the Government’s plans to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Since becoming disabled 14 years ago I’ve relied on this benefit to help me lead a relatively independent life. Of greatest importance to me in regaining my independence was the mobility component of DLA which enabled me to get a Motability vehicle and consequently get back to work. Living in Norfolk where we don’t have the greatest accessible public transport I would have found getting a job without my own transport extremely difficult.

Not getting this benefit wasn’t something I’d ever had to consider before as I fell into the category that automatically got higher rate mobility component of DLA as I am a double leg amputee. However, DWP has now published the proposed points thresholds for getting an award of PIP in a document entitled Personal Independence Payment: assessment thresholds and consultation and no longer are there any disabilities that qualify automatically and everybody will have to be reassessed.

At this stage both the points and the thresholds are draft ones and the Government is inviting disabled people and disability organisations to take part in a consultation on the scoring system between now and 30 April 2012. I would urge people to have a look at the scoring system and see how it is likely to affect you and then let DWP know. Do bear in mind that, if precedent is anything to go by, DWP is likely to interpret the wording of the activities quite harshly as the Government has already stated that they expect half a million fewer people to be receiving PIP in 2016 than would receive DLA, if these proposals are accepted.

This prediction comes from a trial where 900 people were assessed under the second draft of the PIP assessment criteria. The results suggested that these assessment criteria would produce a 2015/16 16-64 caseload of 1.7 million people receiving PIP compared to 2.2 million if PIP wasn’t introduced. This is an awful lot of people predicted to lose this benefit. However, bearing in mind the enormous range of different disabilities that exist I find it hard to believe that a sample of 900 has really given that accurate a result.

If you haven’t had a chance to look at the scoring system yet there are basically 11 different categories which look at things likes preparing food and drink and dressing and undressing. Nine of the sections are related to the daily living component and just two count towards mobility. These are entitled “Planning and following a journey” and “Moving around”. To get the mobility component award you need to score eight points for the standard rate and 12 points for the enhanced rate. If this benefit follows a similar system to DLA then only those receiving the enhanced rate would be entitled to use the Motability scheme.

Concerns have already been raised by disability organisations that for the mobility component of PIP claimants who cannot walk more than 50 metres, even if they need to use some sort of aid other than a wheelchair to do so, will no longer be entitled to the enhanced (higher) rate of the mobility component on those grounds alone. Instead they will get only the standard rate. Nothing is taken into consideration such as the surface people can walk on or how long it might take.

Many blind claimants also look set to lose their higher rate mobility award which was only recently won after years of campaigning.

The only good news on the new criteria is it is not yet set in stone and we do still have time to let the Government know what we think. I know for me the most essential part of my DLA is the mobility component but I know for other people it is the care component. But whatever it is read the criteria and act now, as once these new thresholds are brought in it could be years before they are looked at again.

2 thoughts on “PIP assessment threat to mobility

  1. The system is wrong. After 8 years of Dla at lower care and higher mobility my pip assessment was a farse. The assessor lied in his report and I have been awarded standard care and no mobility. It is my mobility that is affected. I have ongoing medical conditions that are getting worse. I will never “get cured” or have a miraculous recovery yet my “indefinite” Dla award is cancelled. I’ve lost my car, my independence and also my family have suffered due to me feeling secluded at home. My grandchildren had to change nursery as we used the car to transport them.. They are missing out also! Life is more of a struggle knowing there is no car just to pop in and go places.
    I relied on my new car, not because I’m a snob and like to be seen in a “sparkling” new car. I relied on being safe knowing it was new and unlikely to have any problems, my car was covered by breakdown cover, had insurance so my son and partner could take me to my appointments or out to places I liked to visit. It had full forward and rear cameras so even when I’m riddled with pain it could be easy to drive with all the visibility around the car. We could as a family do things together, the grandchildren had the freedom to visit more places that I am unable to access now due to no transport.i could sit in the car, comfy and wrapped up being able to watch the kids playing at the park. Yes I was given a lump sum and a partial refund on my down payment to get the car. I had only just recently had a new car ( 6 months ) and was surprised at how much was taken and not refunded. I had an automatic with no hand break so if I drove, my left side weekness was accounted for. The car was a seven seater with three full seats in the middle row. I have two grandchildren at home and need the seven seater and also the extra adult seat in the middle. Four adults, two teens and two toddlers.
    I’ve had to leave work due to illness so no income. Poor credit so no extra help to get a newer car.
    Depression is made worse as I don’t go out, I feel guilty for letting the family down as I’m too ill to work but not I’ll enough to get the benefits I believe I am entitled to.
    Life’s unfair enough to put these horrid conditions on us and put us through pain everyday, have the Stares and people laughing when I fall over. Try to have a conversation with someone when you seem ignorant due to deafness then reply in garbled words because I am wracked with fatigue. ” Another drunk” is a common phrase said in front of my kids!!
    If anyone wants to be in a position to have to fight everyday to try and be as normal as possible then I welcome you to get in touch and I will give you my body for a day. Or make it seem like you have my body- get in touch if you dare!

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    1. Hi Kiri, sorry to hear that you’ve had such a bad experience. I work in the stories team at the disability charity Scope and we’re always interested in stories like yours. We do lots of influencing work on issues like social care, DLA / PIP and employment. If you want to have a chat with us about your experiences, just email stories@scope.org.uk and we’ll get in touch with you.
      Hayley

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