The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a replacement to the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) which is currently being phased in for people that were between the ages of 16 and 64 on 8th April 2013. People that were aged 65 or over on 8th April 2013 and who are already receiving Disability Living Allowance will be unaffected by PIP being introduced.
The changes in benefits mean that people moving from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments are required to make a new claim for PIP. Even if a ‘lifetime’ or ‘indefinite’ award for DLA has been awarded in the past a new claim will have to be made for PIP and there is no guarantee that the same rate will be awarded.
These changes have caused concern as DLA and PIP are assessed differently, whereas DLA was awarded based on the condition alone PIP requires an assessment to establish how the condition affects each individual. This means that there is no guarantee that the same level of claim will be awarded and in fact ‘To date, of the 31,200 people on the Motability scheme via the higher rate DLA who have subsequently been reassessed for PIP, some 14,000 have lost the higher PIP mobility rate and, therefore, their car as well.’
The Motability Scheme is only available to those eligible for the higher rate mobility component of the DLA or the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP so if the rate is lost it then follows a car or mobility scooter granted under the Mobility Scheme is also lost.
‘The enhanced rate is critical. The Motability scheme allows those receiving the highest rate of DLA or PIP to lease a suitable adapted vehicle, powered wheelchair or mobility scooter, in return for their weekly award. The Motability scheme is particularly important for enabling disabled people to be independent and to manage their condition. It allows users to participate in social activities and do the things that many of us take for granted, such as being able to continue to care for their children.’ – Alan Brown MP
The assessment process for PIP itself is starting to be put under the spotlight after a change to the PIP regulations. They state that individuals who do not need a wheelchair only qualify for the enhanced rate mobility component if they can only move short distances of no more than 20 metres, this had been changed from 50 metres previously.