Announcement of private companies for PIP assessment
2 August 2012
The Government has announced which private companies will be delivering the new assessment for Personal Independence Payment, a disability benefit.
Commenting on the decision to award the PIP assessment contract to ATOS Healthcare and Capita Business Services, Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of Scope, said:
“Just this week the Government and ATOS the contractor who carries out its fitness for work test, have come under a great deal of criticism about how this assessment is being delivered to disabled people.
“Yet in less than a year from now, disabled people could have to go through two deeply flawed assessments in the same month to get the essential financial support they need to live their lives.
“In 2013, up to two million disabled people will see their Disability Living Allowance coming to an end and will be assessed for a new benefit, the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
“DLA is a lifeline for millions of people and families, meeting the extra living costs they incur as a result of living with their condition or impairment.
“We recognise that DLA needs reforming and we fully support the Government’s ambitions to create a better targeted benefit through PIP.
“However, the new assessment to decide who gets PIP is deeply flawed. It doesn’t take into account all the barriers that disabled people face in daily life.
“And the Government, who designed this assessment, doesn’t appear to be learning from the mistakes they have made through the fitness to work test.
“Disabled people are incredibly anxious and afraid that the switch from DLA to PIP is just an excuse to cut the support they need.
“The decision about which private company will run the assessment is of little significance to the thousands of disabled people who are just deeply worried about losing their financial lifeline.”
Notes to the Editor:
Scope wants to see the Government introduce three critical measures to make the transition from DLA to PIP as smooth and stress-free for disabled people. They are:
- introducing outreach workers who can follow up on individual cases where there is a concern about a person who has not responded to the news that their DLA will be coming to an end
- ensure disabled people who are ineligible for PIP but who are found through their assessment to be facing considerable barriers are signposted to services that can help them, an example - local authority housing departments or free debt and money advice services
- publish the descriptors and activities assessors will use to determine eligibility for PIP.