Getting the PIP: concerns about the DLA replacement

Is anybody else concerned about aspects of the DWP’s replacement for Disability Living Allowance?

It seems to me that some parts of it are deeply questionable.

Firstly: The fact that you have to phone up for a claim form. The person on the other end of the 0800 number will ask “general” questions – including very specific details of your bank account. What? Your bank account? That’s right. They want your bank details before anything else happens.

Now this makes me extremely suspicious. We’ve only just had the furore over Universal Jobmatch, the DWP website that jobseekers are being coerced into using, where any bogus ‘company’ can put on an advert and demand enough details to commit identity theft – now the same government organisation wants the bank details of disabled people! We don’t know who’s answering the phone – is it a trustworthy government employee or a subcontractor? Knowing the Coalition government as well as we do, there’s no reason to give them any trust at all.

Next: The form will go to a health professional working for the company Capita (in Wales) or our old sparring-partner Atos in other parts of the UK. They may decide a claimant’s entitlement straight away, but most will be asked to attend a face-to-face interview. It is possible that home visits may take place if the need presents itself. Attendance with a friend, relative, partner, health professional or similar is encouraged. All evidence will be reviewed and a report will be sent to the Department for Work and Pensions to make a decision. The health professional will not make any recommendations at all – a DWP case manager will review the evidence and make a decision.

Do we believe that? Could it be a reaction to the revelation last summer that DWP officers were rubber-stamping recommendations from Atos assessors about Employment and Support Allowance claimants? Is the DWP trying to – as it were – head us off at the pass? I’m not ready to believe this and I can’t recommend that anyone else should either.

Finally, as part of the ongoing process, questions and replies about PIP will be posted on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page of the DWP’s PIP website, www.dwp.gov.uk/pip – which is fine, if you’re a disabled person with access to the Internet. Many parts of Wales are still broadband “not-spots”, and I’m sure that goes for parts of the other UK countries also. What do people do if they live there? Suffer in ignorance?

Are you affected by this? What do you think? According to the DWP, “the general feeling is that PIP is outdated”. Do you agree? If not, why do you think the department has made that claim?

Here’s a little more information about PIP, and the process of conversion from DLA to the new system:

On April 8, 2013, PIP replaces DLA. There are similarities – PIP maintains links to passported benefits where possible, and there are special rules for claimants who are terminally ill. The differences are that claimants must have still have their problem nine months after they apply; there will be planned interventions and an early reconsideration process.

From April 2013, new claims for PIP will be taken in the northeast and parts of northwest England; it won’t affect other regions until June.

From October 2013, claimants on fixed period awards that are coming up for renewal will be reassessed, along with young people coming up to age 16, and indefinite awards with a change of circumstances. Nobody else will be reassessed until October 2015.

For those with fluctuating conditions, the form will provide an opportunity to explain them (I have no information on how that will work).

Claimants can have help completing the form, and reports from health professionals such as occupational therapists and doctors may be added to it.

If a claim is disallowed or reduced, they will phone on three separate dates, at three separate times, to explain the decision. There are concerns that claimants with particular issues such as mental health problems might not understand.

15 thoughts on “Getting the PIP: concerns about the DLA replacement

  1. gareth morgan

    I was reading an article about the date PIP was being reduced was being put back with new claiments being the first to be tested under the new rules but the one thing that does worry me is anyone already on DLA whose circumstances have changed will also be called for reassessment, now call me cynical but would failing your WCA assessment for ESA be counted as a change of circumstances, atos assess you for your esa find you fit for work then use this as an excuse to call you in to reassess you dla and stop this to sounds like something this so called government would do

    1. Mike Sivier

      Yes it does. We can hope that ‘change of circumstances’ relates to your own physical/mental circumstances as described by a medical expert dealing with your case… but, well, it’s the Coalition government, isn’t it?

  2. Jane

    You could also mention this last-minute draconian change: janeyoung.me.uk/2012/12/14/well-over-100000-to-lose-motability-vehicles-under-draconian-new-rules/

  3. jaynel62

    Mike I’m more than concerned I’m downright terrified! The ONLY shining Light is they’ve put off the Launch until 2015; when if there’s any justice they won’t be around to actually go through with it

    1. terrified!

      I feel just the same. I currently receive the highest rate of both DLA components (and I had a reassessment review to confirm this is appropriate just a few weeks ago), but looking at the new PIP regulations I think I may get nothing under the new system. I am very seriously ill, but I don’t think my problems conform to the precise criteria for PIP (eg. I can walk 100m but it will be agony and I might need emergency medical assistance afterwards). If I lose my DLA I will also lose the passported benefits such as being able to use taxicard and I will be basically housebound. I guess if I can no longer afford care I’ll just have to wait and then phone for an ambulance when things get really bad. This won’t save money, just destroy the last few bits of life I still have. I’m going to try to ration my DLA so that I may be able to cope for a while from savings after the 2015 disaster happens.

  4. Kevin

    Hi Mike

    What counts as new claims for PIP? Does this include those already receiving DLA or is it fresh, new claims for from those who have never claimed DLA before? I’m a little confused.

    I’m on DLA now, so what will that mean to me and others like me? I’m in the North East of England.

  5. Gill

    Definitely worried about losing my car but I’m concerned there’s going to be this cycle of being knocked back & losing the car, winning at appeal, getting another car, etc. What about those who need adaptations or have opted to pay a little toward the car we get? Will we get that money returned if they decide to take it away? Are people who win at appeal going to have to go through this rapid cycling so they just get their car back then have to go through it all again? What effect will this have on the companies who are involved in the motability scheme? Will they decide it’s just not worth the bother?

  6. tracyh

    What are they planning on doing for some one in my circumstances who can hold a phone for the length of time it takes to get through there new security measures let alone have a full conversation with then about my illness grrrr! Here’s hoping I’ll get dla this time and avoid the pip claim process for a bit

    1. Mike Sivier

      I take it you meant “can’t hold a phone” etc. That’s a good question. Perhaps they expect you to have a friend who’s willing to hold it for you?
      These are the holes in the system, aren’t they? The little issues that make a big difference to individual claimants.
      Does anyone know whether the DWP employs any disabled people at all, or seeks their advice on matters like this?

  7. Joanna Terry

    I am very concerned about this, the fact that they want to reduce the amount paid out by 20% of the total bill tells you all you need to know about how they have set this up. I know that I will keep my mobility element because of the state I am in but looking at the care element it is unlikely I will retain the level I am on. (High) Also because I have not got a solid in rock diagnosis and my award is to do with my symptoms and the amount of pain I am in, I can see by the descriptors that there is no consideration given to people like me. They also have deliberately ignored the effect that medication has on peoples ability to function. This omission is the biggest glare in my eyes.

  8. Dobster

    Joanna – I’m in same boat diagnosed 22 yrs ago with a degnative muscle wasting desease that’s now put me in a wheelchair (attended not self propelled I may add) as I have little to no feeling in my arms and legs but NO real diagnosis however all services dealing with me to date have believed and understood my issues I got HR care & mobility on day one and no breaks but at present my ESA application is away being denied no doubt 🙂 what will or can PIP so for likes of me who CAN’T do without a car I am THIS COMING WEEK being moved into a purpose built disabled property (with NO help at all financially or physically but that’s besides the point) I truly dread it at least my car will be returned before 2015 so they can’t take it back i may have just enough time to save to buy another before PIP hits us thankfully living rurally we simply can’t do without a car

    1. Joanna Terry

      It’s a massive problem for people like us and I can only see troubled waters ahead, I will also lose my home as I am in Sheltered accomodation with an age limit, I am under that age but got a placce because I am on the high component of DLA. The whole thing is very frightening.

  9. Claire

    Hi
    I saw an advertisement for parents/carers and carers to join the tribunals panel for judicial system to give a mire balanced view inc people with disabilities. The vacancies were supposed to open in November but this has now been changed and won’t be advertised until further notice. I wonder why? As a parent/carer myself my only advice is sign up to as many of these websites arm yourself and get a good solicitor although ironically this will only affect people AFTER legal aid is changed in April. Plenty of pro bono ones though if you look. This government is a disgrace and is pulling the disability movement back 50 years whats next the reopening of long stay hospitals??? I wouldn’t be surprised

  10. raddledoldtart

    If a claim is disallowed or reduced, they will phone on three separate dates, at three separate times, to explain the decision
    What if you don’t have or use a phone…?

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