The government has published a luke warm response to Work and Pensions Committee’s report on the reform of Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.
The government refused to action the committee’s recommendation that sudden onset conditions such as stroke or traumatic injury have immediate eligibility, the same as for terminal illnesses, rather than having to wait for 3 month. The government said that the NHS provides support for in-patients and that there is a range of means-tested and non-means-tested support in place for less acute out patients.
Draft PIP eligibility criteria:
The government also refused to action the committee’s recommendation that the government take into consideration factors such as housing, access to public transport and hilly locations in the activity descriptors, saying that it would create a more subjective and inconsistent assessment.
Other government responses included:
The committee recommended that the government take the necessary steps to ensure that the stories government are accurate and put in context, in response the government highlighted that the disability strategy will aim to change attitudes and behaviour.
Inclusion London comment:
Government’s commitment to improve their portrayal of disabled people in the media has to be seriously questioned because not only did Ian Duncan Smith incorrectly speak about ‘abuse and fraud’ of the benefits system by disabled people in an article printed in the media only three days after the report was published, but also the government has delayed the publication of the disability strategy to later this year.
The government said it will update the figure it intends to save from the DLA/PIP budget, when benefit rates are announced and the design of PIP is more advanced. Previously the government announced its intention to save 20% of the DLA/PIP budget. However, the committee pointed that the 20% figure was (incorrectly) based on growth of 29% while in reality growth is closer to 16 %, which takes into account demographic change and also that PIP only applies to those of working age.
Communication and consultation:
The government responded to the committees concern that the initial consultation was only 10 weeks in length and over the Christmas period when the recommended period is 12 weeks, by saying they thought that 10 weeks was adequate because it was limited to the general principles of reform.
Inclusion London comment:
We do not agree, the basic principles of reform are the most crucial area of consultation rather than the details of the reform, which while important cannot fundamentally change the reform.
The government’s full response is available at: