Personal Independence Payment
Personal Independence Payment (abbreviated PIP) is a welfare benefit in the United Kingdom which is available to help with costs caused by a health condition or disability. It is non-means-tested, non-contributory, and can be paid whether the recipient is employed or not. PIP is based upon the effects of a condition on a person rather than the condition itself.
PIP was introduced in 2013 by the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and replaces the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from 8 April 2013 for people aged 16 to 64 and is being phased in over the following few years. PIP is to replace Disability Living Allowance gradually, first with an initial pilot in selected areas of north-west and north-east England which began in April 2013. A full roll-out across Great Britain was planned for October 2015. This roll out has been delayed, and ministers announced that the roll out would happen 'more gradually' than originally planned.
There are two components of DLA: daily living and mobility needs. Each component can be paid at standard or enhanced rates.
Claims will usually be started over the phone. Most people claiming PIP are required to undergo assessments to prove their eligibility for the benefit. The tests must be passed three months prior to claiming and claimants must be able to satisfy the requirements of the test for a period of at least nine months after their claim. Payments are varied according to the severity of disability as decided by the tests and relate to ability to carry out daily living activities and level mobility. Claimants are also required to undergo periodic re-assessments to ensure ongoing eligibility for the benefit; depending on the type of disability, a person may be given a short award of up to two years or longer PIP award which would last for up to five or ten years.
PIP is not available to children under 16 and PIP claimants must apply before they turn 65 years old as new PIP claims cannot be made after that age. DLA continues for children, and for existing recipients aged 64 or over on 8 April 2013; other people currently receiving DLA will be asked to claim PIP instead at some point.
Responsibility for the tests has been outsourced by the DWP to two private companies, Atos Healthcare in the North of England, London, Southern England and Scotland, and Capita Business Services Ltd in Central England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Reaction and analysis
In April 2013 Iain Duncan Smith, the sponsor of the Welfare Reform Act, expressed his support for the changes to disability benefits brought about by the new law. He was critical of the older system of disability benefits which awarded an allowance to claimants with no further systematic checks to assess if the claimant's condition had improved or worsened. Duncan Smith stated that, by requiring claimants to undergo periodic assessments, the system could be targeted at those most in need whilst preventing payments being made to people who had recovered from a temporary disability.
The UK disability rights organisation Scope has been critical of PIP and, while it expressed support in principle for assessing claimants more carefully, took the view that the assessment criteria were flawed, would cause undue hardship to disabled people and were too strongly focused on cutting welfare budgets.
Prior to the introduction of PIP, work capability assessments carried out by the private contractor Atos Healthcare were subjected to critical scrutiny in Parliament following a number of controversial decisions in which disabled individuals were denied benefits and required to look for work, work they could not do due to their disability.
PIP will affect entitlement to disability "Blue Badges". Only those that meet the Assessment criteria for the enhanced Mobility component will qualify.
Information for support organisations
A toolkit of information for support organisations is available. It contains copies for forms and leaflets, factsheets and guides.
- "Personal Independence Payment (PIP)". Factsheet F60. Disability Rights UK. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
- "Personal Independence Payment". Department for Work and Pensions. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Disability Welfare Changes Delayed by assessment process". BBC News. 26 October 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- "Personal Independence Payment". Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- "Last-minute rush to avoid tough new test for disability benefit as Iain Duncan Smith praises reform of 'ridiculous' system". Daily Mail. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Disability Living Allowance replaced by PIP scheme". BBC News. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Atos comes under attack in emotional Commons debate". The Guardian. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Disabled benefit delays a 'fiasco', say MPs". BBC News. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- "DWP Quick Guide to PIP". Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Personal Independence Payment pages at dwp.gov.uk". Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- "DWP Toolkit for support organisations". Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Disability Rights UK - PIP". Retrieved 22 November 2012.