In 2013 the government went about changing the long-established DLA (Disability Living Allowance) with a new system, PIP (Personal Independence Payment). This week saw the last of those waiting for their PIP application letters receive them – as everyone moving from DLA to PIP will receive a letter by October.
DLA and PIP are designed for anyone who has a long-term illness or disability, be it physical or mental, between the ages of 16 and 64. This new system however has been scrutinised by many individuals and disability groups. It is important to remember that PIP is a separate benefit system, so even those with ‘lifetime’ or ‘indefinite’ status from DLA are not guaranteed funding through PIP. A key change between the systems is that most PIP awards will be fixed term, with a review point built in, that review mechanism will apply even if your condition is permanent, but not if it is terminal. The BBC reported that many parties criticised moves to cut up to £3.7bn from the benefits bill earlier this year
Many Wheelfreedom customers rely on funding such as this to assist in the procurement of powerchairs and mobility scooters. As well as the Motability scheme we also offer a similar system to our customers, which is a popular choice for many people. This is particularly popular as many people choose to use the Motability scheme to lease cars and wheelchair accessible vehicles.
Controversially PIP introduced a change in criteria which has made it harder for an individual to attain a higher rate of payment and assistance. Many local organisations have said they had seen a “significant increase” in the number of claimants scoring zero points in their assessments (a claimant needs eight points for the PIP standard rate and twelve for the enhanced rate). At Wheelfreedom we have noticed ourselves that quite a number of customers have had their Motability agreement cancelled and the individuals have lost their mobility equipment, due to not being awarded the level of PIP necessary to continue their agreements.
We will be publishing a blog shortly, outlining what to do if you need to go through the appeals process yourself.
Please feel free to share your opinions and experiences of PIP, be them good or bad by contacting us through Facebook or on Twitter. We would love to hear from you.