Today marks the beginning of the reassessment of people receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Mind is concerned about changes to eligibility threshold and assessment.
Following problems with the introduction of PIP for new applicants during this year, the reassessment process will take place more gradually than originally planned, beginning in Wales, the East and West Midlands and East Anglia.
Mind has expressed concerns since the introduction of PIP was first announced - the new benefit is expected to have a much higher threshold of eligibility than DLA and will make much greater use of face-to-face assessments, similar to the controversial Work Capability Assessments. These assessments will be carried out by Atos in some areas and Capita in others.
Tom Pollard, Senior Policy Officer at Mind, said:
"Mind is very concerned that many people with mental health problems will lose vital support as a result of these changes. While the delays to the reassessment process are welcome, if they allow for improvements to the process, they also demonstrate that these changes have been introduced too quickly, without sufficient time for proper piloting.
"We believe that the expectation of saving money by making it harder to access support is short sighted - the small amount of support that many people with mental health problems receive from DLA helps them to stay well and reduces the costs to other services and support. We also know that the types of assessments being used to decide eligibility for PIP are very problematic for people with mental health problems, often leading to inaccurate outcomes and costly appeals.
“We will be monitoring the impact of these changes closely and campaigning for improvements to the new benefit so that it can properly support people with mental health problems."
If you think you may be affected by these changes, you can find out more information and tell us about your experience of the new benefit on our PIP Advisor pages.
Notes to Editors:
- PIP will eventually replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA), a benefit which helps millions of disabled people with the additional costs they face as a result of their conditions.
- Atos Healthcare will deliver PIP assessments in the south of England, the north of England and Scotland; whilst Capita will be responsible for assessing applicants in central England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Although the two companies will be delivering the same assessment in terms of the criteria and threshold, details of the assessment process will differ.