How can PIP work for mental health?
Posted Friday 27 May 2011
As part of the benefits system reforms, the Government plans to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with a new benefit: the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). It's not just the name that's changing — the assessment process is too. PIP will be allocated according to an individual's need, and measured by a new face-to-face ‘objective assessment’ (DLA was not assessed for in person).
The Government released a first draft of this assessment last week. Mind is responding to these proposals, and would like your feedback inform our response.
This is your chance to comment on any of the proposals for PIP — its introduction, assessment and usefulness for people with mental health problems. We hope that Mind's response can help to shape the assessment so that it accurately measures the impact of mental health problems on people’s lives, and supports those who need it with day-to-day living costs.
My initial feelings about the assessment are mixed. The first draft of the assessment talks about making sure the process takes full account of mental health problems as well as physical disabilities: good news. We know that there are many people at present who suffer extra costs and expenses because of their mental health who could benefit from receiving DLA. Often they don’t realise they are entitled to this benefit; the focus on mental health needs and allocation is welcome.
However, it is important not to forget that one of the fundamental aims of these reforms is to reduce the future budget of DLA/PIP by 20 per cent. Such a targeted saving fundamentally undermines any objectivity that a new assessment might aim for, since the focus will be on meeting this goal rather than ensuring that everyone with additional costs is supported effectively.
There is also a lack of clarity about what the assessment should be gauging: the DLA Consultation talked about PIP contributing “to the extra costs of overcoming the barriers faced by disabled people” as well as identifying “those who face the greatest need”; while the draft assessment document includes a commitment to focus on “an individual’s ability to participate”. Although these are each important factors to consider, there is no guarantee that they will identify the same people.
- Read the Government's draft proposals for PIP (PDF)
- Tell us your thoughts — post a comment below or send me an email, if you prefer. I'd like to hear all of your comments, whether you've claimed DLA in the past or not.
- What ‘additional costs’ do people with mental health problems face?
- What goods, services or assistance does DLA help pay for?
- How should the Government decide who receives PIP?
Tom Pollard, Mind Policy and Campaigns Officer
Your comments May be used in Mind's response paper to the Government's proposals. However, we will never attribute name or location of comment-posting in the paper: all feedback published will be entirely anonymous. The response paper will be available on the benefits and welfare section of our site, once it has been published and submitted.
Commenting is now closed.