Tweet to defeat. New PIP will fail people with mental health problems
Posted Monday 16 January 2012
We urgently need your help to overturn some very damaging parts of the Government’s Welfare Reform Bill.
If there’s one thing you do today, please tweet the Peers in the House of Lords and ask them to support the changes we’re calling for.
The Government is planning to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP). We have serious concerns about the impact this may have on people with mental health problems.
However, tomorrow the House of Lords will debate the proposed introduction of the PIP. This is our chance to ask the Peers to create a system that is fair and supportive, and achieve a victory similar to last week’s Employment and Support Allowance defeat.
We are against:
- Making ill people wait six months from when their condition starts before they can access the benefit. We do not believe it is fair to let people struggle for six months without financial support when they are very ill. (Update: the Government has agreed to this request - see breaking news at the bottom of this page)
- Bringing in a new assessment for PIP without properly trialling it. We know all too well from the experience of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) that any major change to a benefit will come with lots of problems. Let’s get the system working properly before we subject millions of people to a stressful assessment.
- Using assessors without expertise in mental health to decide whether people with mental health problems need support from the new PIP benefit. The WCA has shown that non-specialist assessors often don't understand how mental health problems can impact on people's lives.
Last week, we finally started to make progress on changing some of the most worrying parts of the Welfare Reform Bill. The Government has been remarkably resistant to accepting any amendments to the Bill, despite warnings from disability charities and disabled people about the potentially grave consequences of some of the proposed measures.
Last Wednesday, however, Peers in the House of Lords forced a number of changes to the Bill concerning people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Most importantly for people with mental health problems, they voted to extend the period of time that people can claim ESA from one year to two.
These adjustments only serve to rein in the worst excesses of the Bill, rather than heralding a shift towards a system that properly understands and supports people with mental health problems.
But the votes represent a significant victory for those of us campaigning for fairer reform (as the Government has refused to respond to our concerns and understand the consequences of the legislation).
This success also gives us hope that we can move on to make further improvements to the Bill. At the top of our list of targets are the reforms to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) which are due to be debated in the House of Lords on Tuesday.
The victories on ESA last week came about as a result of disability charities, disabled people, online campaigners and well informed Peers coming together to call for fairness in the Government's reforms. If we want to achieve similar victories on DLA reform when they are debated on Tuesday, we will need to maintain this pressure and momentum and we will need your help to do so.
BREAKING NEWS: The Government has backed down over making people wait six months to access the new PIP benefit and has agreed to keep the qualifying period at three months. Thanks to all of our campaigners who helped to make this happen!
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind
It’s vital that as many Peers as possible turn out to vote on the DLA reforms on Tuesday. Conservative Peers are unlikely to vote against the Government’s proposals so we are focusing our efforts on Liberal Democrat, Labour and crossbench Peers.
If you use Twitter, you can help by tweeting at one or more Crossbench or Liberal Democrat Peers with one of the following messages:
New tweet!: The DLA reforms need more time to be properly scrutinised before being implemented – Pls vote for amendment 50E today #ttd
PIP assessors need expertise in mental health to fairly decide if ppl are eligible – pls vote for amendment 50b today #ttd
Commenting is now closed.