seAp Asks for a Rethink on Disability Benefits
seAp is urging the Government to rethink proposals contained within this week’s Budget to reduce the number of people claiming Personal Independence Payment, PIP for short. The changes will save the Government more than £4bn over four years, but the IFS suggest they will cost up to 370,000 disabled people an average of £3,500 a year.
PIP is claimed by people between 16 and 65 to help them meet the extra costs of living with a disability. Access to the benefit is through an assessment based on a points system, to which the Government is now proposing to make small but significant changes.
The changes focus on the points awarded when people cannot go to the toilet or dress themselves without using an aid. Currently people in these situations score two points on the relevant questions. Under the proposals both situations will, from January 2017, attract a reduced score of one point.
This will mean that some people will lose the ‘Daily Living’ component, currently worth £55.10 at the standard rate, altogether, or go from the higher ‘enhanced’ rate, £82.30, to the standard rate. PIP is a passport to a range of other benefits, including Carers Allowance, so the changes will have a number of knock on impacts on household incomes. For many people, the changes will mean a significant reduction in their quality of life, and potentially a damaging impact on their ability to live independently.
seAp delivers advocacy support to thousands of disabled people and people with long term health conditions who may be affected by these changes. We know how important PIP is in preserving our clients’ independence and quality of life. We urge the Government to rethink its proposals.
seAp’s work includes the delivery of face to face advocacy support to people, in Hastings, East Sussex, going through the assessment processes for PIP and Employment and Support Allowance, ESA, and the development of a website to support people going through those assessments.
Please take a look at the website for PIP www.pip-assessment.support . The sites contain basic information on PIP and a self assessment tool, which allows you to take a look at the questions, and get a feel for the height of the hurdles people have to jump to get PIP. The sister site for ESA is at www.esa-assessment.support.
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