Social care reform could cost many vulnerable people their entitlement to claim benefits.
Between October 2013 and March 2016 people of ‘working age’ at 8 April 2013 who are getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will be assessed for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Once a decision has been made their DLA will end, and if they qualify they will be paid Personal Independence Payment.
PIP will totally replace disability living allowance, and will be phased in, in stages. DLA claimants with indefinite awards will only start to be reassessed from October 2015. The Department of Works and Pensions estimates that by 2016 the transition to PIP will have been completed for everyone who is currently receiving DLA. With it comes a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews will be introduced where by each person will be assessed on how they can undertake living activities safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a reasonable time. This in itself legally offers a consistent approach.
PIP has different entitlement criteria to those for DLA. Entitlement will depend more on circumstances and the impact of health condition or disability on a person’s day-to-day life, than on the nature of their actual disability.
It assesses a person’s ability to carry out activities to do with daily living and/or mobility. The rate awarded will be based on the impact of the disability or health condition and the extent to which they are able to live independently.
At this stage it is estimated that many people currently receiving the lower rate of DLA will not qualify for any Personal Independence Payment and could miss out all together. It is envisaged that over half a million people with a disability will lose out.
For those who are vulnerable and genuinely need their benefits to live this is yet another fearful time, to the extent some will be living under the threat of losing their current entitlement.
Whilst the theory is well overdue the reality of how this will affect people will be in the quality of the assessors. The fear is these will tend to be the typical stereotyped public outmoded employees obsessed with control but lacking capability. People need to be prepared and look in to how the PIP will work for them as soon as possible.
Also note that Universal credit is a new benefit that will start coming in from late 2013. This will gradually replace many other welfare benefits - including housing benefit, income support and jobseeker's allowance.