DLA to PIP: What’s in a clause? Sometimes quite a lot—as disabled claimants will find out when they are tested for new PIP benefits

What’s in a clause?

Sometimes quite a lot—as disabled claimants will find out when they are tested for new PIP benefits.

Instead of being asked if they can do something “reliably, repeatedly, safely, and in a timely manner” claimants will now only be asked if they “can’t” do it at all.

This one change will snatch benefits from tens of thousands.

In addition – the test for Higher Rate Mobility has been reduced from being able to mobilise 50 metres down to 20 metres.

Despicable.

HOUSE OF LORDS

Thursday 24th January 2013

Welfare: Personal Independence Payment —Question 11:14 am

Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the proposed introduction of the Personal Independence Payment on the mobility of sick and disabled people; and of the omission of the words “reliably, safely, repeatedly and in a timely manner” from the text of the Regulations setting out the qualifying criteria for the payment. 

Lord FraudLord Freud (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Welfare Reform), Work and Pensions; Conservative)

My Lords, the mobility component of the personal independence payment is designed to support those disabled people who face the greatest barriers to mobility. The principle that individuals must be able to complete activities safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely manner is integral to the assessment. We do not believe that this needs to be dealt with in regulations. However, we are looking urgently at whether it is possible to do this in a way that will achieve the outcomes that noble Lords and the Government want.

 
Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench)

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. Does he accept that, with one-third of disabled people living in poverty and an estimated 42% fewer being eligible for mobility support-many fearing that they will become prisoners in their own homes-his admission that under the new regime some disabled people will have their specially adapted vehicles taken away from them or offered to them to buy has caused widespread disbelief and considerable distress? Will he say how many repatriations will be involved and at least ensure that those four words he has referred to-“reliably”, “safely”, “repeatedly” and “timely”-remain in the regulations, as almost every single disability rights organisation in the country have urged him and the Government to do? 

Photo of Lord Freud

Lord Freud (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Welfare Reform), Work and Pensions; Conservative)

My Lords, I recognise the strength of feeling around retaining those words, and we are very actively looking at how to put them into the regulations in a way that works legally. I am planning to update Peers next week, on 31 January, on exactly where we have got to. We are looking to incorporate them in regulations and have a device for doing it in that way. 

Baroness Thomas of Winchester (Liberal Democrat)

My Lords, I am encouraged by my noble friend’s words. I am not an expert in anything much at all in this House but I am an expert in not being able to walk very well. I have form in this area because I have been through the DWP tribunal system, so this is one area that I know something about. Does my noble friend accept that if these words are not made statutory in some way or another, the number of appeals will rocket so much, and there will be such a period of uncertainty in so many ways for so many people, that it is not worth not putting in these words? 

Lord FraudLord Freud (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Welfare Reform), Work and Pensions; Conservative)

My noble friend is, as always, much too modest about all her other capabilities. We are looking at this very actively and have clocked that there is great concern. It is not-and was not-our intention for people to be concerned about this particular area, and I hope that I will have a definitive approach to present to Peers in a week’s time, in plenty of time for the debate on the regulations, which will happen on 13 February.

 
Photo of Lord Touhig

Lord Touhig (Labour)

My Lords, the Minister is on record as saying that not every PIPclaimant will require a face-to-face assessment. In the case of autism, will the Government ensure that evidence is collected from professionals who know an autistic person well, before a decision is taken on whether a face-to-face assessment is needed? When one is considered necessary, can he confirm that the assessors will be fully trained to understand the communication difficulties associated with autism?

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Lord FraudLord Freud (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Welfare Reform), Work and Pensions; Conservative)

My Lords, autism is, as the noble Lord points out, a really difficult area for people. It is difficult to understand and see sometimes, but we have a comprehensive training set-up for ATOS and Capita, which will be conducting the assessment. Clearly, each of those people will need to be approved by the DWP. Autism is among a group of quite difficult things to assess, and I personally take his point about its importance. The Government take his point and we will make sure that, when we give the approvals for that, it is one of the issues that is dealt with absolutely properly.

 

Tanni Grey-Thompson has warned that disability benefits cuts will damage athletes' development. Photograph: Lee Mills/Action Images

Baroness Tanni Grey- Thompson

My Lords, I am very disappointed that this issue did not come to the Floor of the House for proper debate. At the very least, the change to 20 metres should have been clearly stated in the consultation documents. The lack of consultation with disabled people and all supporting evidence from experts in disability access as to what distance enables practical mobility and participation mean that there is a real risk that this issue will be open to judicial review. Is the Minister willing to take that risk?

 

Lord Fraud on RiskMy Lords, the change was made because there was great concern among disability organisations about the previous draft. The concern was that only people in wheelchairs would qualify for the higher rate-that was picked up by Parkinson’s UK, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Disability Benefits Consortium and the National AIDS Trust, among others. That is why the change was made. I admit that I would have preferred there to have been more consultation on the 20 metres, but there is no effective change in the number of people receiving higher-rate mobility allowance because of this change. I hope that noble Lords will accept my assurances on this. That change has made it clearer and simpler to operate this measure; it has not changed the numbers affected. Before we start reassessing people in 2015, we will have had a full independent review which will have gone through this issue, among others, by the end of 2014 

Photo of Baroness Uddin

Baroness Uddin (Labour)

My Lords- 

Photo of Lord Sterling of Plaistow

Lord Sterling of Plaistow (Conservative)

My Lords, I declare my interest as chairman of Motability, which I co-founded in 1977 with the late Lord Goodman. Today, we have more than 620,000 vehicles on the road, which is probably the largest fleet of its type in the world. I fully support the principle that the welfare state should help those most in need, and government are actively implementing that principle, but we must appreciate that uncertainty about the effect of these changes will cause considerable worry and stress for many disabled people and their families. As my noble friend the Minister is more than aware, and as has been spoken about today, there is concern among disabled people at the recent change from 50 metres to 20 metres as the distance specified in the regulations for higher-rate mobility allowance. As the timetable for PIP implementation has been extended, will the Minister consider providing further information on, and rationale for, this change-through seminars, for example-thereby maintaining the trust and confidence in PIP being developed? 

Lord FraudMy Lords, I have to accept that there was inadequate discussion of the changes and that there is inadequate understanding of them-just the concerns that I am hearing today underline that. I shall pick up the suggestion of my noble friend about further communication with the relevant parties and look at how best to do that.

 
 
HOUSE OF COMMONS
 
Thursday 24th January 2013
 
Photo of Helen Jones

Helen Jones (Warrington North, Labour)

As we do not appear to be overwhelmed with Government business, will the Leader of the House find time for a debate on the plight of disabled people under this Government? Like many other hon. Members, I am now receiving letters from disabled people who are in despair at the cuts they are facing. One gentleman wrote to me last week saying that he believes the answer for him is the introduction of voluntary euthanasia. Is it not about time we had a proper debate on these issues?

 
Photo of Andrew Lansley

Andrew Lansley (South Cambridgeshire, Conservative)

I am sorry if anybody should ever feel that, because it is absolutely not necessary. As the Prime Minister has clearly said, and as I have reiterated, the changes to benefits for disabled people, including the personal independence payments, will focus more resources on those most in need with disabilities. I also dispute what the hon. Lady said about the business. This week five Government Bills are being considered in this House and five are being considered in the other House—that is a busy programme.

Comments
  • Boadacia! January 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Yes, we all know the lies they spout! It’s just another excuse and moving the goalposts to deny any responsibility of paying anything to anyone of what they are ENTITLED to!

  • Jim Edge January 25, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    “However, we are looking urgently at whether it is possible to do this in a way that will achieve the outcomes that noble Lords and the Government want” A very telling comment by Lord Freud, how come none of the nobels picked that up and why didn’t one of them query his terminology.

  • jeffery davies January 25, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    il just go and get my soap and towel just take me to that place you may aswell do it right not leaving us to linger on jeff3

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS January 25, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Lord Freud is an anagram of” the lowest piece of lying scum that ever walked this earth”

  • Kelpiemare January 25, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Cameron’s glove puppet broke ranks today, admitting that they had got it “wrong”. No ****, Sherlock.
    Now just get the rest of your puppets together and get rid o the Tories before thousands more people die.

  • Sherlock Holmes January 25, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    wankers…

  • jay January 25, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    “but we have a comprehensive training set-up for ATOS and Capita, which will be conducting the assessment” so says mansion owner

    Doesn’t that just make your blood run cold. Cold comfort indeed

    Talking about autism he states “it is one of the issues that is dealt with absolutely properly.”

    So is that an admission that other issues have not been dealt with properly?

    You can just imagine the Atos interrogator. Can you walk more than 20m?
    The claimant replies No.
    Atos So how did you manage to walk into this office for the interview?
    Atos interrogator keenly watches claimant leave the building = 0 points

    It seems what has begun with Incapacity Benefit is only the tip of the iceberg.
    I fear for people on DLA, to be put through this by a prime minister who claimed it is just an absolute obscenity.

  • Linda January 26, 2013 at 8:41 am

    As i get low rate DLA, i’m very worried that when PIP comes in, i will end up with nothing. This is despite the fact that i have an autoimmune disease that is incurable and progressive, and i would be housebound if it was not for my husband taking me out in the car.

    Never mind walking twenty metres, i can’t get to the nearest shop or bus stop. There must be thousands of people like me, are not in wheelchair but cannot walk far enough to get where they want to go.

    • Penny L January 26, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Help with mobility costs has to be related to being able to do something useful- posta letter, go to a corner shop, meet friends in a pub or park. Government have just announced that Blue badge will be limited to people unable to manage 50 metres. Hospitals will have a lot of people stuck in car parks or needing ambulance service transport who previously used a cab or got a lift and used parking for disabled people.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS January 26, 2013 at 10:14 am

    GEOFFREY REYNOLDS left an annotation (25 January 2013)

    I had an ESA examination (not a proper medical by a healthcare professional certificated in muscular skeletal injuries), on 10/07/2012.
    The examination,which became secondary and rushed due to more time being spent initially on a series of unrelated questions being logged into a laptop,was basic to say the least!
    At no time during the examination did i refuse to do anything that was asked. In fact i tried to do what was asked and my condition and severe pain prohibited several movements.
    When requested to attempt any movements that were hurting me or would exacerbate a problem i made the examiner aware of this.
    Rheumatoid Arthritis,Slipped discs and Sciatica make some movements impossible.
    Despite this, upon receiving my report that was marked zero by DWP Decision Makers, i was marked on 75, yes SEVENTY FIVE times as having “DECLINED” to do certain movements.
    There is only a certain range of movements that a sufferer can be expected to do. I perceive the word “DECLINED” as an easy option for the Health Care Professional, in tandem with the DWP, to deny benefits at any cost.
    Biopsychosocial software used to determine the condition of any sufferer is devoid of any human feelings, cannot interpret pain thresholds, administration of medicines, limits of movements or mental stress and deviations in mood and severity.
    It was developed by a corrupt american insurance corporation (UNUM) to deny claimants their right to compensation and benefits.

    Link to this

  • Jan Tchamani January 26, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I feel for the previous contributor. ‘It’s all in the mind’ – it’s our attitude – whatever. I feel like jumping hard on their toe and when they say ‘ouch!’ telling them they’re shamming and not thinking positive enough.

  • steve davies January 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    This is the Torys , they are scum and do not like disabled . Nothing will change until these Nazis are voted out of office and their ass licking Liberal buddies as well. We have local elections in May…..dont stay at home , get out and vote and begin the assault on the Torys and Liberals

  • Marion January 26, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    This is just getting worse and worse by the day/hour/whatever and where I don’t have the “worry” of being on ESA at present and having the dreaded WCA, as I “chose” to take the lesser evil option for me of going on JSA, I am on DLA and really, really worried about that. I’ve already had 1 battle with them involving ATOS and a nasty Doctor who came to my home, when it was reassessed in August 2011, I was getting high rate Mobility and highest rate Care component, when what do you know, after the “assessment”(questioned answered incorrectly and not shoewd to me)they tried to initially say I would ONLY qualify for the lowest rate care and nothing else, I appealed and was soon after given back the whole Mobility as it had been, but they wouldn’t budge on the Care component, I cariied on taking it further, only when it came to near the tribunal, I was frightened off by being told by an advice centre worker, if I went ahead, they could look at the Mobility again and I could lose all of it! I was so stressed and unwell, my brain and bosy couldn’t cope with more grief at that point, so I cancelled the tribunal, though I strongly feel(still do) that as well as needing the higher Mobility, I should I at least still get the middle rate care, I can understand not maybe getting night time rate, though I do need help and support then, but not as much as other people. I forgot to add that as well as losing a substantial amount at not getting the middle or highre rateCare component of the DLA, I also lost a lot of extra premium from my Jobseekers Allowance, which helped me greatly and helped pay people to help me, without going down the Care assessment/Social Services route.

    I would be completely lost without the DLA, but I really feel that for us who are not wheelchair users especially, we are going to have to come up with some strategies/plans as to what to do and are going to have to keep protesting/keep up the momentum somehow. Forgive me if I’ve forgotten or can’t pin point it(memory and concentration worse than ever!)but I believe that I’ve read on here recently, that as well as the sneaky underhand moving the walking question from 50 metres down to 20 metres, it has also been found that they are going to ask in the transfer to PIP, not “can you safely, without pain etc., walk x distance, they are just going to ask, “can you walk—–“?

    If this is also true, we who don’t use wheelchairs are in seriously big, big trouble and we need to work out what can be done or we’re all done for in so many ways We just can’t allow them to get away with this? I have a disabled adult son and daughter-in-law, who have 2 children, 1 is a wheelchair use, the other isn’t and they both have cars on the Mobility scheme and if there was a chance they lose any of their allowance and their car/cars, they would be in serious trouble of being able to run their life/family day to day.

    Marion, Norwich

  • […] DLA to PIP: What’s in a clause? Sometimes quite a lot—as disabled claimants will find out when t… Posted on January 25, 2013 […]

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