Apr 142014
 

The ‘One Show’ are looking for people who have had or are waiting for a PIP assessment with CAPITA. CAPITA carry out assessments in the midlands, parts of Yorkshire and in Wales only (please see map with postcodes to identify if you are in a CAPITA PIP area).

pip-postcode-map

 

If would be happy to talk about your experiences to Donna a film maker from the One Show in Manchester please read on -talking to Donna does mean you need to appear in the film , but obviously all that can will help get the message out on PIP. Filming will start week beginning 21st April- so please get in touch with Donna immediately-

 

see below for more details and contacts for Donna, and please contact Donna directly with any questions, not DPAC

 

The controversial Personal Independence Payments, brought in last year to replace Disability Living Allowance have been heavily criticised for causing ‘distress and financial difficulties’ to long-term ill and disabled people, due to the long waiting times and differences in the PIP assessment such as the new 20m rule. 

In this film I would like to meet some of the people behind the headlines and the statistics. I want to get across as much information about PIPs – in a clear and visually interesting way– in order to both engage the audience and get the main points across.

We are looking for people case studies of PIP

I would really like to meet some people who have had or are waiting for a PIP assessment, and find out their experience of PIP so far, and how it has affected them and their families everyday lives. The film will hopefully involve two such case studies, as well as a presenter who will be there to meet our case studies and chat to them about PIPs.

 There is a possibility that we would like the case studies experiencing PIPs assessments to get the chance to meet Stephen Duckworth from Capita so they can ask him any questions,  that they might have about PIPs. They would also be able to have a representative from a local  organization with them when they do this as support, if needed.

For this reason, we are currently only looking to feature PIPs Case Studies that have been assessed or are waiting to be assessed by a company called Capita (not Atos case studies). Capita assesses in The Midlands, Wales, and some areas of the north such as Yorkshire.

At this stage, it would just be good to chat to as many people as possible about their experience applying for and being assessed for PIPs, and if you talk to me, you are under no obligation to take part in the programme, and our conversations would be confidential.

If anyone would like to talk to me, please  pass on your  names and numbers to me with a good time to call, or you can get in touch with me on 07774027012 or email me at donna.wood01@bbc.co.uk. I am available at evenings and weekends too!

 Notes on Logistics of filming:

The film will be a short film of around 4 and half minutes long that will be shown on The One Show, in about 3 weeks time (date TBC could be a bit sooner or later than that!).

The film will prerecorded, and then some of the issues raised in the film will be discussed in studio with the presenter. Filming will take place on one day on the week beginning 21st April.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 042014
 

We’ve had a great response to bookings for the DPAC conference on Sat 12th April in London, but places are now running out. Please email:  dpacfightback@yahoo.co.uk

with your details, number of places needed and any access needs.

12th April 2014 – 11am until 5pm

London Met University, Tower Building, 166 – 220 Holloway Road, London, N7 8DP

Since we started in October 2010 Disabled People Against Cuts has been at the forefront of the fight against austerity. With Atos on the run, and the bedroom tax on the ropes we are seeing the results of hard campaigning. But there is much more to do to ensure disabled people’s rights to live independently and with an adequate income.


The national conference is a chance for DPAC members to come together, to share experiences and discuss your ideas for moving forwards.


DPAC are working hard to bring to conference a surprise guest, a person who, if anyone has, has been the catalyst for the re-emergence of disability activism in the last few years, someone DPAC has enjoyed a close relationship with from visiting him at home to donating underpants to supporting his select committee appearances.


Workshops will look at: –  Where Now for the Independent Living Fund campaign,  – Developing a Social Model of Distress,  – Winning the Argument,  – Disability, Art and Protest,  – Building a National Network of Disabled People’s Organisations and Direct Action practical skills among others.

 Please note places are limited so priority will be given to DPAC members. For information about joining please contact mail@dpac.uk.net

The venue is wheelchair accessible. BSL and a note taker will be provided. For access information go to: http://www.disabledgo.com/access-guide/islington-council/london-metropolitan-university-tower-building

For access queries including booking parking please contact DPACfightback@yahoo.co.uk
To book places or for more information please contact DPACfightback@yahoo.co.uk

 

 

 

Mar 162014
 
Thursday 20th march the public accounts committee is meeting to discuss personal independence payments (PIP), the vice president of Atos and Capita are going to be in attendance as witnesses.
 
Meeting will take place room 15 palace of westminster 9.45 am spread the word on this atos and capita in the same room…. we need a presence at this one!
Feb 122014
 

With 2/3 people being rejected for PIP and apparent everlasting delays causing more misery and destitution we need to raise this issue more through the media. 

Journalist Francis Ryan is looking for people

1.       –Who have been rejected by the PIP system

2.      – Those who are being forced to endure long and damaging delays

We can completely recommend Frances who has written many excellent and supportive pieces on the situations facing disabled people.

Please get in touch with Frances directly at frances.ryan18@btinternet.com

Comments will only appear on the DPAC site and do not go direct to Frances

Frances is also on twitter @frances__ryan 

You can read more about Frances at http://differentprinciples.co.uk/about/ 

Jan 252014
 

This month DPAC ran two articles , one on PIP being sanctionable evidenced through a DWP Freedom of Information request (FOI) response http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2014/01/how-can-pip-be-sanctionable/ (we put our own FOI in on this on the day) and the other on DWP information of cuts to the benefit cap for couples without children http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2014/01/dwp-cuts-by-stealth-benefit-cap-for-couples-without-children-from-26000-to-18000/

The PIP being sanctionable issue had a lot of attention – how could they possibly do this? Kate Green responded to DPAC on Twitter, after asking questions and obtaining info and documents from the Parliament library to say PIP wasn’t sanctionable, other MPs said they would raise questions on this. John Pring of DNS News also contacted the DWP and their view was PIP wasn’t sanctionable. But we were all confused, none more so than the DWP, it seems. On 23rd January the DWP issued an apology ( yes really: an apology) and said they had made a mistake: PIP is not sanctionable https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/192913/response/474265/attach/html/3/WDTK%20FOI%20194%20correction.pdf.html

We are still not entirely clear how PIP fits in with ‘withdrawal of benefits’, linked benefits to PIP and other puzzles set up by minsters and the DWP which it appears that the DWP themselves cannot properly follow either.

The second story on the benefit cap information and its cut was also clarified by DWP –they didn’t apologise this time, but again they got it wrong! The cap wont be cut, at the moment anyway. http://nationalhousingfederation.newsweaver.com/update/15j1xj9pu8q?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_campaign=hootsuite

We are all trawling through these cuts they call reform, and its difficult enough, given 2 cock ups in 3 weeks by the DWP, plus all those emails that DPAC gets through its mail box from people whose lives are affected by DWP incompetency-we ask: are the DWP falling apart at every level? If so UNUM will be pleasedDWP

               

Jan 212014
 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is the new benefit which replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA). 

DLA was introduced in the UK in 1992, and its main purpose was to compensate for the extra costs associated with disability and it was therefore not means tested, non contributory and not taxable. Although the majority of people claiming DLA had mobility issues, some disabled people would also choose to claim it to cover their personal care costs. Many were awarded DLA for life in recognition that their impairment/health issue would be with them for life. DLA was for those both in and out of work for the extra costs associated with disability. The Government presented PIP as a ‘like for like’ payment to replace DLA.

PIP was introduced in 2012 to replace DLA, the government arguing that the increasing number of claimants made DLA unsustainable.  PIP is therefore more restrictive and will lead not only to a reduced number of claimants but also to a reduced number of claimants entitled to the enhanced rate of the mobility component. http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2014/01/shocking-pip-figure-raises-new-motability-concerns/

PIP has also been riddled in controversy because of Atos, the firm contracted by the government to undertake the PIP and the Work Capability Assessments, which has led to 1 million disabled people appealing in court, with 43% of them succeeding in having their fit for work decision overturned. http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2012/11/esa-appeals-increase-by-40-what-the-newspapers-wont-print/

Therefore it really came as a surprise to discover that in 2012 PIP had become a sanctionable benefit.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/192913/response/472770/attach/3/8.194%20Clarification%20letter%20Jones%20WDTK..pdf

http://legislation.data.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/5/schedule/9/crossheading/social-security-fraud-act-2001-c-11/data.htm?wrap=true

However aborrhent sanctions are, there is a kind of twisted logic behind them.  JSA and ESA claimants have to sign a contract (under duress, meaning threat of sanctions) and have to comply with the terms of this ‘contract’ (again under threat of sanctions). If they don’t, they will lose some of their benefits and many JSA and ESA claimants have been sanctioned, some 120 disabled people up to three years http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/3-year-benefit-ban-hits-120-disabled-people-under-new-sanctions-regime

 But with PIP, there is no contract, no Jobseeker’s agreement, no Claimant Commitment and it still remains a recognition that life for disabled people is more expensive, if they have to buy appliances or care that non disabled people don’t need in order to live a decent and dignified life or to work.

So what does it take to have your PIP sanctioned?  Is there somebody in the twittersphere or reading this article who can answer this question?  Because making PIP sanctionable does not make any sense, unless the DWP or IDS have a cunning plan. And they might.

Nov 112013
 

Are you a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) user that has been forced into a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment? We are looking for stories of those that have been forced into a PIP assessment through a third party. For example, if you have had an ESA assessment, failed and then details have been passed on to the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) and  triggered a PIP assessment.  Also if you think you have been reported to any agency for a change of circumstances and this has forced a PIP assessment.

This does not apply if you have reported a change of circumstances, but in any other case where you have been told that you must be assessed for PIP due to a change in your circumstances.

Please send any stories to mail@dpac.uk.net  

All details will remain confidential.

Aug 052013
 

Hoban-Expenses-235x300

Last month (12 June), Mark Hoban said this during a debate on people’s right to ask for a recording of their employment and support allowance face-to-face assessments: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130612/debtext/130612-0004.htm#13061288000001

 

“The Department and Atos are in the process of amending written communications to claimants by updating the WCA AL1C form. The document is sent to claimants when they need to arrange a face-to-face assessment and will provide more information on how to arrange an audio-recorded assessment. We expect the revised form to be sent out to claimants by the end of next month, once the necessary changes have been made and the form has been cleared for use.” 

In other words – the DWP was finally going to change the documents it sends to ESA claimants to let them know that they can ask to have their Atos face-to-face assessments recorded. It’s vital that people know they have that right, because with a recording, they are able to demonstrate beyond doubt what was said and what happened at their assessments.

By “the end of next month,” Hoban surely meant the end of July – and we’ve just gone past that deadline.

 

Jayne Linney, DPAC, Black Triangle, False Economy and Public Interest Lawyers  (who, with disabled man Patrick Lynch, took a legal action against the DWP last year on people’s right to record their assessments http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/dec/13/disabled-man-government-court-benefit-test ) are publishing this blog and asking you to reblog and share it to find out if the DWP has changed the documents it sends out to ESA claimants and if people have noted that. Earlier this month, the DWP sent Public Interest Lawyers this document as an example of the leaflet that claimants should receive about their face-to-face assessments. This document includes information which advises people of their right to ask for a recording. We want to know whether people are getting that document and if word is spreading that people can make that request.

 

This is important for a number of reasons. The first is, of course, that people need to know they have this right and that they can request a recording when they are called to an Atos ESA face-to-face assessment. The second is that Hoban claims that he is evaluating the demand for recordings and that he’ll be doing so until the end of summer 2013. (It will be important for people to respond to these blogs as soon as possible – by the end of August 2013 at the very latest – that being the case). http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130612/debtext/130612-0004.htm#13061288000001

 Hoban continues to argue that the demand for recordings is not high. Campaigners have argued, rightly, that their surveys http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2012/11/dpac-survey-responses-on-wca-what-harrington-didnt-ask/

 and calls for information show that people do want recordings – and that demand may well increase if people actually know that they can ask for a recording. Unfortunately – or intentionally – Hoban says that the evaluation of demand will finish at the end of summer. That isn’t far away and doesn’t give anybody much time to find out if the amended documentation (presuming that people are receiving it) is having an effect. The third reason that this is important is that the DWP says it has based its decision NOT to offer recordings for Personal Independence Payment assessments on the ESA experience: “the DWP has not seen evidence from other disability assessments that this would improve the quality of assessments,” Esther McVey told parliament this year. So evidence of the demand for ESA recordings is very relevant to the PIP debate. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130418/text/130418w0003.htm#13041838000125  The department’s whole approach to recording PIP assessments is a mess – Capita, which has a contract to carry out some of the PIP assessments, originally said it would offer recordings. McVey put a stop to that and said that it wouldn’t. Meanwhile, the DWP was telling journalists that recordings would be offered for PIP assessments.  http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/07/secret-cuts-part-four-personal-independence-payments They’re making it up as they go along, so pressure needs to be applied.

 

The aim should be to get rid of the work capability assessment altogether – but while it’s there, safeguards like recordings of assessments need to be in place. Claimants and campaigners have fought hard for the right to record their face-to-face assessments. As we’ve said, people need to be able to demonstrate beyond doubt what is said at assessments. Atos is notorious for returning fit-for-work reports which ignore a claimant’s true circumstances and the details shared in face-to-face assessments. The ever-increasing number of ESA appeals  http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/esa-appeals-more-than-double-and-decisions-in-the-claimants-favour-are-increasing/ prove Atos’ problems with accuracy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/dec/13/disabled-man-government-court-benefit-test

Campaigners have won some concessions through their hard work. These include a commitment from the DWP to offer ESA assessment recordings (on “official” dual-CD recording equipment – people still can’t bring their own recording equipment unless it can dual-produce a CD or cassette). The changed paperwork was another concession. Let’s see if they’ve done it and if people are aware of it.

Download DWP Notes Sheet on assessment

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/WCAAL1C_0713-21.pdf

 

 

 

 

May 252013
 

Any campaign from this Government which claims to support disabled people should be viewed with suspicion and the latest offering from the DWP is no exception.

The department yesterday put out a press release boasting: “Celebrities have joined forces with the government to help launch a campaign aiming to promote positive role models for disabled people.”

This campaign features a youtube channel where 50 videos have been posted which have “been produced with a focus on overcoming barriers”.  Many of these videos are unsurprisingly about disabled people who have high flying careers, such as Dame Anne Begg, or are stories of disabled entrepreneurs.

The accompanying press release includes a gushing quote from Emmerdale actor Kitty McGeever explaining how after becoming disabled it ‘took some time to get back into work’ but she managed it with the help of the Government’s Access To Work scheme.

This scheme provides funding for workplace adaptations, travel or some care needs for disabled people in employment.  The number of people benefiting from Access To Work has plummeted by over a third since this Government weren’t elected showing the true situation for disabled people currently seeking employment.

Whilst this campaign may be a cheap attempt to improve those figures, it comes against a background of savage cuts to benefits, services and housing for disabled people.  It is a campaign run by a government which is declaring hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people to be ‘fit for work’ with the aim of stopping their benefits.  A government which has been only too happy to force sick and disabled claimants onto workfare as part of the Work Programme –  with no public scrutiny of where they are being sent or for how long.  A government that is set to force potentially hundreds of thousands of disabled people from their homes due to the bedroom tax, benefit cap and other measures.

And when Personal Independence Payments (PIP) fully replace Disability Living Allowance, this is a Government which will have slashed completely a vital benefit for 20% of disabled people.

This move alone is likely to mean that over 50% of disabled people are forced to leave work as funding for specialist equipment, care and transport disappears*.

Vast numbers of disabled people are set to be plunged into poverty by these measures, and it is this which reveals the true intentions of this latest DWP run project.  One of the charities involved in the campaign is quoted as saying that the “project is about showing what disabled people can do – not what they can’t”.

This is eerily similar to David Cameron’s line when interviewed shortly after the opening of the Paralympic games when he said: “It’s about the inspiration and it will change people’s minds and that’s what matters. It’ll teach people about what they can do, rather than what they can’t do.”

It is also the line used to justify the benefit-stripping Work Capability Assessment which according to the DWP focuses on “what an individual can do despite their health condition, rather than simply what they can’t.”

Minister for Murdering Disabled People, Esther Mcvey also pops up in this week’s press release, and whilst not quite so explicit, her underlying message is the same:  “young disabled people tell me they want to see more inspiring role models to show where disabled people have achieved their ambitions despite the odds being stacked against them”

For young disabled people the odds are stacked against them like never before due to this Government and in this context the true nature of the DWP’s latest campaign becomes clear.  This is not about providing role models for young disabled people or helping people fulfil their potential or even changing perceptions of disabled people as is claimed.  This Government doesn’t care about any of that.  This campaign is yet more insidious DWP propaganda attempting to give the impression that those plunged into poverty due to the ruthless cuts to disability benefits will only have themselves to blame.  If only they’d learnt to play wheelchair rugby, or been a fucking Dame, then they could afford to put the heating on.

The campaign also has a facebook page which might be a good place to share experiences of what people can no longer do due to the vicious cuts to benefits: https://www.facebook.com/Rolemodelsinspire

Dawn Willis writes well about this kind of narrative: ‘I’m not Stephen Fry, how damaging is that?’ from Dawn

*this figure comes from a survey carried out by Disability Rights UK (DRUK) which reported that 56% of those asked said they would have to leave work if they lost their DLA.  DRUK are notoriously in the pockets of the DWP, with Chief Executive Liz Sayce writing a report which recommended the closure of the Remploy factories.  The survey relating to the number of people likely to leave work due to PIP seems to have disappeared from DRUK’s website, for which there is surely an entirely innocent explanation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

With massive thanks to the brilliant Johnny Void for letting us re-post

See more from Johnny at http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/achieve-your-potential-or-starve/

 

Jan 192013
 

Ellen Clifford joins Paul Carter and Sophie Partridge to talk about DPAC, the end of DLA and the migration to personal independence payments, sport and the Independent Living Fund with Neil Coyle from Disability Rights UK,  and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. Includes John Evans interview with Sunil Peck on the closing of the ILF.

from Disability Now – The Download podcast: DLA sport and the Independent Living Fund (to listen to the podcast click on image below)

 

 

Nov 152012
 

Dear Committee Members,

 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is being introduced in April 2013 and Atos Healthcare has been selected by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as one of the delivery partners in the UK.

 DPAC wishes to lodge a formal complaint that its name has been inappropriately used in the PIP Tender Documents submitted by Atos to the DWP as part of the Claimant Representative Groups with which Atos claims to have a successful record of engagement.

 The tender document specifically states “Before designing our PIP solution, Atos engaged with Claimant Representative Groups to take their views into account”.

The other references to CRGs in which DPAC has been identified by name as being included, deal with the future level of engagement that Atos will have with CRGs in order to take the needs and wishes of disabled people into account. Successful engagement with CRGs was an important criterion in this tender, as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) made clear in August when it stated that successful PIP assessment bids had “demonstrated strong evidence… of close working with disabled people’s representative groups”.

 DPAC has been shocked to learn that its name (and the names of other CRGs mentioned in the tender which have also protested) has been used to lend credibility to Atos’ claim of future successful engagement with these organisations, on which depends, according to DWP, the successful implementation of assessments responsive to needs of disabled people.  DPAC has staged protests against Atos, in particular during the Paralympics games, and has repeatedly denounced Atos’ treatment of disabled people and the computer based assessments leading to so many wrong outcomes.  DPAC does not wish to be associated with Atos in any way, shape or form, and DPAC’s brand has been compromised by this false association.

 DPAC believes that if one excludes CRGs named in the tender which have never been consulted by Atos, which have never had and never intended to have any engagement with Atos, and which have expressed their dismay at the possibility of engaging with what they see as a flawed process, Atos’s claim in this area is not only weak, but also mendacious. 

 We feel it is essential for these assessments that those employed using taxpayers money to carry them out are not awarded the contracts based on the use of false information and we would like the Public Accounts Committee to investigate these matters further.

 Linda Burnip

Co-founder DPAC on behalf of all DPAC members.

 

May 132012
 

 

 DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST CUTS (DPAC)

www.dpac.uk.net

 Briefing Notes DLA Abolition.

 

Contact – Linda Burnip DPAC co-founder

01926 842253

0771 492 7533

linda_burnip@yahoo.co.uk

 

Debbie Jolly, DPAC co-founder

01572 820546

079461 40765

mail@dpac.uk.net

 Background to the Abolition of Disability Living Allowance  

 Disability Living Allowance was introduced in 1992 to provide support with the extra costs of living that disabled people face.  

 In the Budget (June 2010) and Comprehensive Spending Review (October 2010) the new Condem government announced its intention to arbitrarily cut spending on Disability Living Allowance by 20 per cent or remove eligibility from half a million disabled people.

 In December 2010, government then published its detailed plans to abolish Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and introduce Personal Independence Payment (PIP), for those of working age from 2013-14. This is in spite of the fact that the fraud rate is only 0.5%.

 The government said that the changes to the assessment and eligibility would be the means through which a 20 per cent cut in spend and recipient numbers would be achieved. By 2016 this cut was intended to amount to savings of £2.6bn annually.

 The government has said that it wants a more ‘objective’ assessment a statement driven by the political goal of lowering the spend on DLA, as there is little evidence of unnecessary payments:  fraud rates for DLA are low at only 0.5%[1]. This indicates there is sufficient rigor and objectivity under the present DLA assessment system. In addition only about 50% of DLA claimants are successful and in 2008 49% of appeals were turned down, which also suggests that the assessment is rigorous. 

 “The new benefit will have two components, linked to a range of activities that will be considered in the new assessment. One will be awarded on the basis of the individual’s ability to get around (the mobility component), the other on their ability to carry out other key activities necessary to be able to participate in daily life (the daily living component).”

 The government continue to echo the notion that support should go to those “who face the greatest need”. However they do not justify how they intend to equate ‘greatest need’ with enabling disabled people to fully participate within society and DPAC has concerns that any such false distinction will simply further  the notions of the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ disabled.

 The policy goal which frames the PIP assessment criteria DPAC  would argue is totally flawed. We believe that the proposal for PIP is driven by a cost cutting agenda and a predetermined goal of cutting spend by 20 per cent, rather than any kind of objective assessment of need of support to cover disabled people’s extra costs of living.  

 Maria Miller has once more stated that the cost of supporting disabled people is unsustainable but that “The Coalition Government is committed to helping disabled people to exercise choice and control over their lives and ” “We have been absolutely clear that our welfare reform plans are designed to protect people in the most vulnerable situations, including disabled people.”

 However in reality both the work capability assessment for ESA and the proposed planned changes of replacing DLA with a Personal Independence Payment are simply designed to reduce the number of people whose disability is recognised by this government.

 We further believe that government ministers have continually created confusion over DLA by linking it to a goal of encouraging people to be in work. DLA is not an out-of-work benefit and people can receive it whether in or out of paid work. For many disabled people DLA is what allows them to be able to work and without it they will no longer be able to continue in employment.

 Assessment development group

 The government formed an ‘Assessment Development Group’ to design the assessment, comprising The government’s ‘Assessment Development Group’ which drew up the draft assessment has ten health and social care professionals plus government officials, yet only one person representing disabled people. Since the numbers of health professionals and officials heavily outweighed the number of disabled people present, it is not surprising that the group was able to come to a ‘broad agreement’ on the proposed assessment.

 If more disabled people had had been present it is doubtful that such a medicalised/ functional ability type of assessment would have been agreed on.  Disabled people should have been fully involved in this decision making process at the early stage of discussion, i.e. as members of the Assessment Development Group in at least an equal number of disabled people representing disabled people’s organisations as government and other officials.

 Article 4 of the UNCRPD states; the general obligation on government to consult with disabled people, before not after decisions or policies are changed.

This lack of early involvement is compounded by the government  ignoring the concerns raised by disabled people and their organisations via consultation responses by refusing to amend the Welfare Reform Bill sufficiently to address these concerns.  

 PIP components and eligibility assessment 

 PIP Components

 Personal Independence Payment will have two components:

  • daily living component
  • mobility component  

 Each component has two rates rather than the existing three rates:

  • daily living component standard rate
  • daily living component enhanced rate
  • mobility component standard rate
  • mobility component enhanced rate

 PIP Eligibility Assessment

 Activities for daily living and mobility

The new assessment will cover activities for daily living and mobility. To qualify for PIP disabled people will need to score enough points in the following daily living and/or mobility activities:

 Daily Living Activities:  

  1.  planning and buying food and drink
  2. preparing and cooking
  3. taking nutrition
  4. managing medication and monitoring health conditions
  5. managing prescribed therapies other than medication
  6. washing, bathing and grooming
  7. managing toilet needs or incontinence
  8. dressing and undressing
  9. communicating with others

The mobility activities:

  1. planning and following a journey
  2. moving around

The number of points scored will dictate whether a claimant is assessed as having a ‘limited ability’ or ‘severely limited ability’ to carry out daily living activities and/or mobility activities. The score will also dictate whether a claimant will receive the standard or enhanced rate of the Daily Living component.[2]     

PROBLEMS WITH PIP

  • In order to receive PIP disabled people must be aged between 16 and 65 years and satisfy the daily living and/or mobility activities test for 3 months prior to claiming and be likely to continue to satisfy this test for a period of at least 6 months after claiming.

 

  • It remains very unclear what will happen to anyone who becomes 65 and is in receipt of the mobility component of PIP as they would have to claim Attendance Allowance which has no mobility component. (currently anyone in receipt of DLA mobility component who becomes 65 continues to receive this). DPAC is therefore concerned that any older disabled people will lose their independence simply because they have reached the age of 65.

 

  • There is also no clarity about what will happen when someone is admitted to hospital for any length of time but with the proposals for PIP as they now stand it would seem that even a very short stay in hospital could result in someone losing their mobility cars, plus any equipment such as wheelchairs or hoists and other essential equipment they may be using PIP to pay for.

 

  • Government guidance on DLA states that ‘Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is not based on your disability but the needs arising from it’. This is not reflected in PIP and the assessment involves a rigid and crude set of questions which examines what a disabled person cannot or can do from a prescribed list that only covers basic mobility activities and daily living activities.  This method of assessment follows the medical model of disability. 

 

  • The Work Capability Assessment was described by Professor Harrington as ‘impersonal and mechanistic’ [3] and has resulted in many flawed decisions, which have been over turned on appeal. It is deeply worrying that the government appears be adopting a similar rigid assessment for PIP.    

 

  • The estimate for ESA tribunal appeals for 2012-2013 is £50 million and the backlog of cases is so long that tribunals are sitting even on Sundays so the logic behind also adopting a similarly flawed assessment process for PIP remains unclear to DPAC.

 

  • The cost of changing from DLA to PIP has also been estimated to be £65 million and on top of that there are plans to regularly re-assess even claimants whose condition will never improve. Not only does this seem a waste of money but it will add unfair additional stress to the lives of people who are already struggling to overcome the disabling barriers put in their way on a daily basis.

 

  • DLA acts as a passport to other welfare benefits and concessions such as the Blue Badge, loss of which will increase the impact of losing DLA. We feel the government have failed to consider how these passporting functions will be replaced if PIP is introduced.

 

  • Higher rate care component of DLA has passported disabled people to eligibility for funding for care and support from the Independent Living Fund although this is also now closed to new applicants and due to close completely by 2015.

 

  • Being in receipt of higher and middle rate care components of DLA has also passported disabled people to additional disability premiums in both Income Support and Housing Benefits. These premiums are now also planned to be abolished with no clear guidance on what these additional amounts of funding will be replaced by or how people will become eligible for any additional amounts of basic benefits.

 

  • Many disabled people will live in increased poverty because of the new assessment.  The government has not sufficiently tested what the impact on those losing DLA will be. In particular the cumulative impact of benefit changes remains unknown.

 

  • By depriving disabled people of a much needed benefit we believe the government is failing in their duty under the Equality Act and its responsibilities under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

 

  • The assessment of mobility impairment is ridiculously crude and neither allows for cumulative impact, fluctuation in factors such as stiffness and pain, nor for factors such as steps. A person may be able to walk 50 or 200 metres on one day but none on another. They may be able to walk short distances on a flat surface but be unable to walk up and down steps to access buses and tube trains safely. An assessment of these factors is needed. 

 

  • Many claimants with Neuro-diverse and Mental Health conditions also say that while they can plan a journey the stress and anxiety involved in making such a planned journey has simply been ignored and that they can physically only carry out the planned journey if they have support from another person to do so. This is another group of disabled people whose real needs will be ignored by changes to PIP>

 

  • Claimants with conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis may be able to complete a one off physical task, but completing several tasks over the course of a day can have a cumulative effect and increase pain and immobility to totally debilitating levels.  Additional consideration of the impact of pain and fatigue is essential.

 

  • Again many claimants with Neuro-diverse and Mental Health conditions can physically cook a meal but find that to do so is stressful and exhausting for them so in reality they are not able to prepare and cook a meal.

 

  • Disabled people are already twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people. Far from the intention to ‘improve the support for disabled people and better enable them to lead full, active and independent lives’, these proposals will lead to an increase in disabled people’s poverty and isolation.   Therefore DPAC is strongly opposed to the introduction of PIP and the eligibility assessment.  

 

  • The government’s work and pensions select committee recognised that many more disabled people need to be lifted out of poverty and recommended a DLA awareness campaign. 

 

  • DLA supports disabled people to become more equal and independent.  Instead of attacking DLA, which supports independence (including helping to overcome barriers that prevent some people taking up employment), government should be doing more to stimulate demand in the economy so that jobs are available and to tackle discrimination by employers by vigorously enforcing the Equality Act 2010.

 

 

 



 

 

 

 
Mar 012012
 

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) today publishes its Report on the implementation of the right of disabled people to independent living in the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which was ratified by the UK in 2009. The Report draws attention to a number of significant human rights issues, including:

 

  • the need for freestanding legislation to protect the right to independent living in UK law,
  • the effect of current reforms to benefits and services on the ability of disabled people to enjoy independent living,
  • the role played by the UNCRPD in policy development and decision making at all levels of government,
  • the use of equality impact assessments,
  • the effects of devolution on implementation of the UNCRPD, and
  • hate crime

 

The right to independent living does not exist as a freestanding right in UK law. Although it is protected and promoted to some extent by a matrix of rights, the Committee believes that this is not enough. It argues that the Government and other interested parties should immediately assess the need for, and feasibility of, legislation to establish independent living as a freestanding right. In addition, the Committee concludes that the UNCRPD is hard law, not soft law, and that the Government should fulfil their obligations under the Convention on that basis, and counter any public perception that it is soft law.

 

The Committee finds that:

 

  • reforms to benefits and services risk leaving disabled people without the support they need to live independently;
  • restrictions in local authority eligibility criteria for social care support, the replacement of the Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment, the closure of the Independent Living Fund and changes to housing benefit risk interacting in a particularly harmful way for disabled people;
  • some people fear that the cumulative impact of these changes will force them out of their homes and local communities and into residential care.

 

It also finds that:

 

  • the Government had not conducted an assessment of the cumulative impact of current reforms on disabled people. The Report urges them do so, and to report on the extent to which these reforms are enabling them and local authorities to comply with their obligations under the UNCRPD.

 

  • the UNCRPD did not appear to have played a significant role in the development of policy and legislation, as is required by the Convention. The Committee therefore argues that the Government should make a commitment to Parliament that they will give due consideration to the articles of the Convention when making legislation.

 

Further, the Committee deprecates changes to the duties of public authorities in England under the Equality Act 2010, which no longer require the production of equality impact assessments of changes in policy, nor the involvement of disabled people in developing policies which will affect them.

 

The Committee finds variations in the manner in which the devolved administrations have implemented the Convention, and uncertainty as to the role the UK Government should play in ensuring implementation. The Report notes with disappointment the lack of a strategy in Northern Ireland to promote independent living and reminds the UK Government to acknowledge their responsibility to ensure implementation.

 

The Committee also considers a range of other issues relating to independent living. It recommends that the Government should take further action to ensure that assessments for care needs are portable across the country in order to ensure disabled people’s right to choose their place of residence. It also expresses concern over a growing incidence of hate crime against disabled people and urges the Government take action to foster respect for the rights and dignity of disabled people.

 

 

Dr Hywel Francis MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “We are concerned to learn that the right of disabled people to independent living may be at risk through the cumulative impact of current reforms. Even though the UK ratified the UNCPRD in 2009 with cross-party support, the Government is unable to demonstrate that sufficient regard has been paid to the Convention in the development of policy with direct relevance to the lives of disabled people. The right to independent living in UK law may need to be strengthened further, and we call on the Government and other interested organisations to consider the need for a freestanding right to independent living in UK law.”

 

 

The members of the Committee Are:

Rehman Chishti MP (Conservative Gillingham and Rainham) Baroness Berridge (Conservative)
Mike Crockart MP (Liberal Democrat Edinburgh West) Lord Bowness (Conservative)
Dr Hywel Francis MP (Labour Aberavon) (Chair) Baroness Campbell of Surbiton (Cross-Bencher)
Mr Dominic Raab MP (Conservative Esher and Walton) Lord Dubs (Labour)
Mr Virendra Sharma MP (Labour Ealing Southall) Lord Lester of Herne Hill (Liberal Democrat)
Mr Richard Shepherd MP (Conservative Aldridge-Brownhills) Lord Morris of Handsworth (Labour)

Clerks to the Committee:

Mike Hennessy (House of Commons) 020 7219 2797 John Turner (House of Lords) 020 7219 6772

Enquiries: 020 7219 2467        Fax: 020 7219 8393        E-mail: jchr@parliament.uk

Homepage: http://www.parliament.uk/jchr

Media Inquiries:  Liz Parratt: 07917 488978.

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