Welfare to Work

Further consultation announced on Personal Independence Payment’s

Further consultation announced on Personal Independence Payment’s

This the week the DWP has announced that it shall undergo further consultation regarding the introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP). PIP is the replacement for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and was rolled out last month[1]. It is a benefit meant to provide additional help to those with particular mobility or care issues. PIP involves face-to-face consultation and regular interviews. This contrasts with DLA, which involved a greater degree self-assessment and benefits for life without further checks. Whilst campaigners claim that it represents a ‘victory’, the DWP insists that it is part of an on-going process of engaging with the public[2][3].

Much of the controversy around the introduction of PIP is centred on changes to the mobility component. The particularly controversial change that is being consulted on is the change in the requirement for what counts as a person “unable to walk”. Under DLA, an individual was considered unable to walk if they were unable to walk further than 20 metres without support. Under current PIP regulations, this distance has been increased to 50 metres. It has been argued by some that the bar has been set too high for the mobility criteria and that as a result many people will be ineligible for PIP despite being too disabled to live independent lives [4]. As a result, the DWP has opened a new consultation over whether the 20 metre standard should be reinstated.

Proponents argue that PIP is a superior system to DLA. They claim that it will give greater help to those that need it due to the fact there are regular interviews, whereas under DLA 70% of recipients never spoke with the DWP again after becoming eligible for benefit[1]. The DWP also forecasts that 510,000 people will have their care increased under PIP[5]. The DWP also claims that PIP will be more economical as it will provide support for disabled people to work and will reduce fraud and error in the system.

Opponents argue that the motivations for changing the system are led by a cost-cutting desire rather than the best possible care for the disabled. Official estimates suggest that by 2018 approximately 600,000 fewer people will be receiving PIP than DLA, reducing the cost of the benefit by 20%[1][4].

Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey, has said in a press release that the consultation is being carried out “with an open mind” and that the assessment should be “designed to target support on those who need it most”.  Steve Sumpter, one of the campaigners suing the government over DLA being replaced by PIP[6], has claimed that the consultation has been designed to change policy whilst “trying to do so without admitting that they are at fault”[2][3].



  • Will the most vulnerable continue to be protected under PIP?
  • Is the consultation a genuine attempt to find a better policy or a way of u-turning without losing face?

By Willarchdeacon

Press release

Quoted links

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22058059

[2] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/disability-campaigners-celebrate-victory-after–government-rethink-over-plans-to-make-it-more-difficult-to-claim-disability-benefits-8664041.html

[3] http://moneycarer.org.uk/articles/victory-disabled-sees-new-consultation-disability-benefits

[4] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/18/fight-for-disabled-people-mobility [5]http://fullfact.org/factchecks/disability_living_allowance_reform_personal_independence_payment-28993?

[6] http://www.latentexistence.me.uk/why-i-am-suing-the-government/

1 Comment

  1. Unfortunately the article has completely reversed the actual situation. DLA allowed anyone unable to walk 50m to claim higher rate mobility, PIP has reduced this to 20m (despite every consultation document saying 50m)and the consultation is over whether this needs to be reinstated to 50m.

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