New benefit “better reflects today’s understanding of disability”

Published on Monday, 10 June 2013 13:48
Written by Scott Buckler

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – a new disability benefit being extended across the country today – will better reflect today's understanding of disability, says Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey

It replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working-age claimants, which was introduced over 20 years ago. The new benefit is designed to support disabled people to live independent lives and includes a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews.

Esther McVey, Minister for Disabled People said:

Disability Living Allowance is an outdated benefit introduced over 20 years ago and was very much a product of its time.

The Personal Independence Payment has been designed to better reflect today's understanding of disability, particularly to update our thinking on mental health and fluctuating conditions.

We are introducing a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews – something missing in the current system. This will ensure the billions we spend on the benefit give more targeted support to those who need it most.

The new assessment looks at an individual's ability to carry out a broad range of everyday activities such as washing, dressing, cooking and getting around. It also looks at reading, verbal communication and how someone engages with other people, which is one reason why it better recognises mental health conditions.

Under the current system of DLA, 71% of claimants get indefinite awards without any systematic reassessments and around half of decisions on entitlement are made on the basis of the claim form alone - without any additional corroborating medical evidence.

In the past, higher rate mobility was focussed on individuals with a physical disability. Now claimants will be able to get the enhanced rate if their condition means they can't plan and follow a familiar journey unassisted.

PIP started in April with a phased introduction in the North of England and is now being rolled out to the rest of England, Wales and Scotland. Some existing working age claimants will start to be re-assessed from October, but only if there is a change in circumstance, if an existing award ends or if someone reaches age 16.

This means most existing DLA claimants won't be re-assessed until 2015 or later, after DWP has considered the findings of the first independent review in 2014.

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