Scope has submitted its response to the Government’s consultation on the assessment for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which will replace Disability Living Allowance next year.
Earlier this year, the Welfare Reform Bill became an Act and this means that all the changes to welfare benefits set out in the Bill will become law. Some changes like the time-limiting of Employment and Support Allowance have already come into effect; others, like the abolition of DLA and the introduction of PIP won’t happen until next year.
Scope has worked hard to ensure that the Government doesn’t repeat with PIP the same mistakes it made with the Work Capability Assessment. We have repeatedly urged the Government to press pause with its PIP reforms and take time to listen and understand disabled people’s concerns so that it can create a benefit that actually drives down the extra costs that can negatively impact on disabled people’s capabilities for choice, control and independence.
As we said in our response, we are very disappointed to see that the Government did not act on the recommendations – set out by Scope and endorsed by 24 other charities and disabled people’s organisations – in our Future of PIP report, which we produced last year.
We are especially concerned that the Government is not fulfilling the commitment it has repeatedly made to disabled people: that it will adopt a social model approach for DLA reform. This, we feel, is extremely important. Like DLA, PIP is supposed to contribute to the extra costs disabled people face living in our society. We know from our research, as well as our conversations with disabled people day in, day out, that many extra costs come from barriers like inaccessible transport or unsuitable housing. And so it’s vital that social and environmental barriers like these ones are included in the PIP assessment; but the Government hasn’t done this. If the Government doesn’t adopt a social model approach for PIP, we worry that the benefit will not go to the people who need it most.
Scope is continuing to work to try to ensure that as few as people as possible lose out from the switch from DLA to PIP. We told the Government in our response that we’d be happy to work with them to show them what a social model based test for PIP should look like, and how they might incorporate it. But that’s a long way to go from where they are now.