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Wiltshire and Swindon Users’ Network (WSUN) Response to the “PIP Consultation: On the Second Draft of the Descriptors and the Importance of Setting the Thresholds for the PIP Entitlement.”

Foreword

The Wiltshire and Swindon Users’ Network (WSUN) is a user-controlled organisation that meets the Department of Health “Design Criteria” for an established User Led Organisation (ULO).  WSUN supports people who come with the experience of having physical or sensory impairments, using mental health services, being an older person, or having a range of learning difficulties.  (Hereafter referred to as marginalised groups, this will also apply to the other 8 Equality Characteristics.  As stated in the Single Equality Act 2010. This Act is central to WSUN’s basic principles’ in how we support our members to become involved to develop ideas to shape services such as those proposed in the emerging; Welfare Reform, Health, Social Care and Community Partnerships and until recently WSUN was also working closely with Wiltshire and Swindon Police Equality Unit.

WSUN has a joint role in educating and learning from the wider society on how to meet all our diversely rich and genuine needs, at the point of all service delivery, whether that comes within our own communities or from the voluntary, private and public sectors’.

WSUN can to set up Focus Groups to undertake and scrutinise plans, in the role as “a critical friend”.  Working in this way we have a proven track record of skilful facilitation and supporting the development of a mutual understanding of every ones issues.  With the aim of collating empirical experiences and evidence together to co-produce Action Plans.  That are then jointly agreed as Equality Impact Assessment criteria, that meet the tests of both, “Proportionality and Legitimate Aims”, in accordance with the Single Equality Act 2010.

Using these skills WSUN aims to support, the true participation and engagement of Marginalised Groups to have their say.  In how society is shaping and developing new policy directions.  WSUN is supporting people to move along the road to becoming more socially inclusive, of disabled people understanding what, it means to be a “Full Citizen” with rights and responsibilities.

WSUN has successfully, (from the 1st August 2010) taken on the “Host” role and responsibility for the Wiltshire LINk (locally known as “Wiltshire Involvement Network – WIN” and now co-produces this function with Age UK Wiltshire.

WSUN believes, and is totally committed to the vision and values of social inclusion, (including Equality and Human Rights for all).  Ensuring and promoting Dignity and Respect for all in our local communities.  There is a need to ensure ULOs are supported appropriately with continual funding to ensure this vision becomes a “true reality for all,” not just a few.

In terms of increasing peoples’ capacity: “to get around.”  WSUN has developed a very successful award winning project!  Called, the “Wiltshire Independent Travel Scheme” (WITS).  WITS is an independent project offering initial travel support to individuals who would like to travel independently on public transport for work, to meet friends, for college or training.

After meeting the person for the first time, we design an individual programme of support depending on their skills and needs.

A travel supporter will accompany the person on their journey until they become confident.  WITS has successfully worked with people and developed techniques to enhance their individuals skills like; planning a journey, road safety, telling the time, using money or a bus pass and help to build confidence.

The only cost to the individual are any bus or train fares although where possible we will assist people to apply for disabled person passes.  Many of the people who use the WITS project find that they not only become independent travellers but the skills and confidence they gain opens up further opportunities.

(This is why WSUN has a lot of further question that require more consideration, as the issues as described in the “Descriptors” are often over simplified, given our vast experience and knowledge in this area of  the “Mobility Component.”)

 

WSUN’s Organisational Strategic Overview

Q1 – What are your views on the latest draft Daily Living Activities?

“In the explanatory note we set out revised proposals for the activities relating to entitlement to the Daily Living component (Activities 1-9). These include three new activities: Communicating, Engaging socially and Making financial decisions.  We would welcome your views on the activities.  Are the changes and the new activities an improvement?  Do you think we need to make any further changes?”

Activities:1 through to 6: WSUN believes strongly that these are ALL Basic Human Rights and as such should be dealt with as a matter a “Base-Line – Dignity and Respect Issues” and therefore anyone who needs to be assessed for support is granted this fundamental basic right’.  These scores need to be assessed on a case by case basis.

Note: The comments on Descriptors in Activity 1: Can and should equally apply to Activities:  2 through to 6. WSUN has choosen to single out Activity 1, 3, 7 and 8 for specific additional comment but the comments in Activity 1 should also stand regarding all 9 Activities.

  1. 1.   Activity Preparation of Food and Drink (Descriptors)
  • People will have a cook meal from fresh ingredients and may be needing to use any special equipment, without help from anyone else, using a cooker hob, under descriptor A.  This score needs to higher as the “time factor”, “risk of injury” the hidden benefit to the persons “Health & Wellbeing” of a nutritional meal needs to be taken into consideration when considering the appropriate allocation of points.  These should include people:-  
  • Who can cook a meal from fresh ingredients with special equipment, in descriptor B.  This scores needs to be higher as the “time factor”, “risk of injury” the hidden benefit.  This might include a special knife that is easier for you to grip, a food processor, or a prosthetic (such as a false hand).  This will also apply if there is some piece of equipment thatis easy to get, that would allow you do prepare and cook the meal. However there may be fatigue issues, in doing this every day!
  • Who can’t cook a meal from fresh ingredients on a cooker hob, but can do it using a microwave.  This score needs to be the highest and higher than 2 points.  This might be because you can’t handle hot pans safely!
  • Who can cook a meal from fresh ingredients, but if someone helps you as long as they don‘t do any of it for you.  This could be someone encouraging you to cook.  This could be someone with early dementia, or have mental health issues, (ie; having someone reminding them how to cook the meal, or someone reminding that it is time to cook and also actively encouraging them to eat the cooked meal too!
  • Who can cook a meal from fresh ingredients, but need someone with you in case something bad happens.  This might be because they are likely to make a dangerous mistake.  Or cause themselves harm, or have an epileptic episode, or are prone to falling, whilst carrying hot items.
  • Who can cook a meal from fresh ingredients, but need someone to physically help them.  This might mean you need someone to chop vegetables or they need someone to or open a tin for them.
  • Who are completely unable to prepare or cook food and drink, even with any of the sorts of help mentioned.  Remember, you have to be able to prepare and cook the meal safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely fashion.  If there is no help that would allow them to do that.

Activity 3 (Daily Living) – Managing Therapy or Monitoring a Health Condition

  • Someone who does not have a health condition requiring medication, therapy or monitoring, you satisfy descriptor A.  Someone also satisfies descriptor A if you do need medication, therapy or monitoring but can manage it without help or supervision.  This scores zero points.  This score WSUN believes is acceptable.

However the following areas need to be reconsidered:-

  • If someone uses an animal (such as a trained, “Assistance/Guide” Dog to support them to manage their Long term Health Condition.) For example specialist animal trained to detect when someone who is about to have an epileptic seizure.
  • If someone needs some sort of help to manage medication or monitor a health condition, they need to meet descriptor B, as minimum.  This score point, needs to assessed on a case by case basis.
  • If someone needs someone to help with therapy and they need this help for up to 3 hours per week.  WSUN believes this should meet descriptor C.  This score needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.
  • If someone needs someone to help with therapy, and they need this help for more than 3.5 hours a week, but up to 7 hours a week, needs to meet descriptor D. This score needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.
  • If someone needs someone to help with therapy, and they need this help for more than 7 hours a week, but less than 14 hours a week, needs to meet descriptor E.  This score needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.
  • If someone needs someone to help with therapy, and they need this help for 14 hours or more a week, needs meet descriptor F.  This score needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.

Activity 7: Communication

  • If someone needs to interpret for them to communicate (such as a Deaf Person; British Sign Language – BSL), this needs to score highly because of the isolation and cost of interpreters.  Needs to meet descriptor G but this score needs to be assessed on a case by case basis
  • If someone needs hearing amplification, such as a hearing loop (even though, they use a hearing aid).
  • If someone needs larger print size than Ariel 12 (even with spectacles)
  • If someone needs to use “speech to text software” to read (usually, for people who are visually impaired, or blind).  This needs to be considered as a high score.
  • If someone needs to use “voice activated software” to write.
  • If someone needs some sort of special equipment to read, you meet descriptor B.  If they need some sort of special equipment to understand people speaking, or to allow other people to understand them speaking, they should meet descriptor C.
  • If someone needs someone else to help them access written information, they should meet descriptor D.
  • If someone needs someone to help you say complicated things so that other people can understand them, or understand complicated things when other people say them, they should meet descriptor G.  Uncomplicated things that are simple.  These should include basic safety instructions, or asking for help with an everyday activity.  This should apply when the person helping you needs to be someone who knows them well, or someone with special training.

This includes someone with complex communication needs.

  • If you need someone to help you say simple things so that other people can understand them, or understand simple things when other people say them, you meet descriptor F.  Simple things include safety instructions, or asking for help with an everyday activity.  This should apply if the person helping them needs to be someone who knows them well.  Or requires tool/aid for additional help.
  • If someone is unable to communicate in any conventional way, they should meet descriptor G.

All of these above descriptors need to be assessed on a case by case basis.

Activity 8 (Daily living) – Engaging Socially

If someone doesn’t need any help to engage socially and you don‘t need anyone to remind or encourage you to spend time with other people, they should meet descriptor A.  This scores zero points.

If someone can’t do the above, it should count because of a condition, illness or disability.  It cannot just be because they prefer not to spend time with people.  WSUN agrees with these statements as acceptable.

However if any of the following applies, the circumstance may need more consideration:-

  • If someone needs someone to remind or encourage them to engage socially, they need to meet descriptor B.  This includes people needing someone with them they trust to socialise, even if you don’t need them to actively help.  Because this activity includes getting to know people, it is possible that needing encouragement or ‘moral support’ when meeting new people should be included.
  • If someone needs help to engage socially, they should meet descriptor C. This only applies if the help has to come from someone with special training or experience.  If anyone who knows you well could help, descriptor C doesn’t seem to apply.  But WSUN believes this should apply
  • If someone can’t engage socially at all, they need to meet descriptor D.

You only meet descriptor D if they can’t do one of the following.

  • To do this activity, they have to be able to:
  • Interact with people in an appropriate manner.  This means behaving in a way that is appropriate to the specific situation, and appropriate to the people you are with.
    • Understand body language.
    • Get to know people and establish a relationship with them.

All of these above descriptors need to be assessed on a case by case basis.

Q2 – What are your views on the weightings and entitlement thresholds for the Daily Living Activities?

In the explanatory note we set out proposals for the weightings of descriptors in the activities relating to entitlement to the Daily Living component (Activities 1-9).  In this document we have set out the entitlement thresholds for the benefit.  How well do you think they work to distinguish between differing levels of ability in each activity?  How well do you think they work to prioritise individuals on the basis of their overall need? Do you think we need to make any changes to weightings or thresholds?

General Comment:  WSUN believes strongly that these are ALL Basic Human Rights and as such should be dealt with as a matter “Base-Line – Dignity and Respect Issues”.  Therefore anyone who needs assessed support is granted this fundamental basic need’.  These scores need to be assessed on a case by case basis.

  • These activities are basically right; WSUN have made specific comments around Activity 1, 3, 7 and 8, but would like you to note the above statement
  • However under Activity 2:  The Descriptor of eating includes chewing, but WSUN notes there is no descriptor that fits for someone unable to chew.

 Q3 – What are your views on the latest draft Mobility Activities?

In the explanatory note we set out revised proposals for the activities relating to entitlement to the Mobility component (Activities 10-11).

Are the changes an improvement?  Do you think we need to make any further changes?

Activity 3:  (Mobility) – Planning and Following a Journey

This is about your ability to work out how to get somewhere, and to get somewhere when you’ve worked out how to get there.  It also includes getting somewhere if someone else has told you how to get there.  To make it easier to read, we (DWP) have written this as “needing help to follow a journey”.

If someone can plan and follow a journey without help or special equipment, they meet descriptor A.  Special equipment that is only needed to move around probably doesn’t count.  This scores zero points.  WSUN believes this statement to be acceptable.

However, the following areas, need to be reconsidered:-

The way these activities and its descriptors are written they are very complicated.  It is hard for WSUN to be sure what they mean.  So these descriptors need further clarification before we as an organisation can form a view on them.  For DWP’s benefit, WSUN has bullet pointed the areas of interpretation that we believe need more clarity:-

  • Some of the descriptors talk about needing someone to be with you to  stop something bad happening, or in case something bad happens.
  • Those descriptors also talk about needing someone with them to encourage or remind them to follow the planned journey.
  • If they need someone with them because you’re not aware of dangers, that is also covered.
  • DWP also talk about needing a support dog.  Are the above three bullet points going to be treated in the same way?
  • Those descriptors also talk about needing someone to plan your journey for them.  Does this only apply if they need them to plan the entire journey for them, and cannot plan any part of it themselves?
  • The rules don’t say what happens if the person needs specific equipment, such as a computerised navigation device, to follow a journey.  Or if they need specific equipment to move around. Is covered in the next activity?
    • If someone needs specific equipment to help them follow a journey, but don’t need that equipment just to move around, the rules don’t say what to do.
    • A support animal means a specially trained animal to help them to overcome a barrier with your sight, hearing and/or physical mobility. Will these animals, for the purposes of assessment only be counted as an equipment descriptor?
    • Some of the descriptors talk about having issues following any journey because it makes them upset.  There is no definition saying how upset they would have to be.  The word used is “overwhelming”.  It is implied that this would only apply if the person cannot make themselves leave their home.  It is unclear if it applies because you lack motivation, for example due to depression?
    • The descriptors need to treat journeys differently depending on whether they know the place they are going to.  It is particularly important to remember to check whether they can do this safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely fashion!

The above questions were raised by our highly experienced WITS Team (The WITS has been referred to in WSUN “Foreword”.)

WSUN feels it can comment on the following descriptors though, given the above clarification:-

  • If someone needs someone to remind them or encourage you to go out, because it makes you so upset that you couldn’t go out alone, they should meet descriptor B.
  • If someone needs help to follow a journey, or help to plan a journey, to a place they don’t know, they should meet a minimum of descriptor C. Help following a journey has to come from a person or a support dog.
  • If someone cannot leave their home at all, because it makes them very upset, they meet descriptor D.  This should apply EVEN if they cannot leave their home if someone else is with them.
  • If someone needs help to follow a journey, or help to plan a journey, to a place they already know, they should meet descriptor D.

Help following a journey has to come from a person or a support animal.

 Q4 – What are your views on the weightings and entitlement thresholds for the Mobility Activities?

In the explanatory note we set out proposals for the weightings of descriptors in the activities relating to entitlement to the Mobility component (Activities 10-11).  In this document we have set out the entitlement thresholds for the benefit.  How well do you think they work to distinguish between differing levels of ability in each activity?  How well do you think they work to prioritise individuals on the basis of their overall need? Do you think we need to make any changes to weightings or thresholds?

General Comment:  WSUN believes strongly that these are ALL Basic Human Rights and as such should be dealt with as a matter “Base-Line – quality of life issues”.  Therefore anyone who needs assessed support is granted this fundamental basic need’.  If the issues of the “mobility component” are not this may lead to socio-economic isolation.  If people are unable to access their community and specialised services, as appropriate and necessary, this could lead to clinical depression.

One issue that hasn’t been addressed are mobility issues relating the rural localities and distance from amenities and facilities. Urban communities might  take this for granted.  So there needs to be some acknowledgement in the “weighting” regarding their geographic closeness to community facilities/shops etc.  There may be additional difficulties that ensue as a direct result of this.

However these scores/weightings need to be assessed on a case by case basis.

“Q5 – What are your views on how the regulations work regarding benefit entitlement?

Draft Regulations 1 to 4 set out how the assessment will work to prioritise individuals and determine entitlement to the benefit.  How well do you think the draft regulations achieve the intent of the assessment set out in the explanatory note?  Do we need to make any changes?”

WSUN thinks this question is impossible to answer unless we have a detailed knowledge of legal language.  We haven’t been able to simplify it because the language is legally binding and will have specific legal meanings.  WSUN think that this question is too difficult to answer because we need a lot of technical legal knowledge.

However, WSUN feels it’s important to say this, because otherwise the Government will be able to say that people thought that the Draft Regulations 1 to 4 were fair because nobody told them any different.

“Q6 – What are your views on how we are dealing with fluctuating conditions?

“Regulation 4(4)(c) of the draft regulations and paragraphs 7.13 to 7.15 of the explanatory note set how we are proposing to assign descriptors to people who have fluctuating conditions.  These are that: – Scoring descriptors will apply to individuals where their impairment(s) affects their ability to complete an activity on more than 50 per cent of days in a 12 month period.

· If one descriptor in an activity applies on more than 50 per cent of the days in the period – i.e. the activity cannot be completed in the way described on more than 50 per cent of days – then that descriptor should be chosen.

· If more than one descriptor in an activity applies on more than 50 per cent of the days in the period, then the descriptor chosen should be the one which applies for the greatest proportion of the time.

· Where one single descriptor in an activity is not satisfied on more than 50 per cent of days, but a number of different descriptors in that activity together are satisfied on more than 50 per cent of days – for example, descriptor ‘B’ is satisfied on 40 per cent of days and descriptor ‘C’ on 30 per cent of different days – the descriptor satisfied for the highest proportion of the time should be selected.  What are your views on this approach and how this is set out in the regulations?”

Some of the changes they feel may be day to day, some may be week to week, others may be different again; they may feel better on some days and worse on others.  WSUN believes this should cover both mental and physical health and disability.

  • Suggesting that your condition affects them over a minimum period of 12 months.  As DWP know some illnesses get a bit better for a while, and then get worse again.  Some can change from day to day.  This is called ‘relapsing and remitting’ or as in this question, ‘fluctuating’ WSUN agrees with this definition and timeframe, as appropriate
  • The DWP think that they should judge if a person meets their idea of disability by looking to see how many days a person is affected and meets their descriptors of problems
  • DWP will look at how things are over a whole year.  They think this will make it fairer for people and give a clearer picture of how your illness/disability affects your day to day life.  People don’t have to have a difficulty all day for it to count; if they have a problem that only affects them in the evenings, or only the mornings, they should still count every day that it affects you.  The only time this wouldn’t apply is if the problem affects you at a time that you wouldn’t be expecting to do an activity.  For example, if they need help cooking late in the evening, that might not count.
  • WSUN disagrees with having such an arbitratory percentage cut off, against each descriptor and fluctuating conditions need to be discussed and agreed on a case by case basis.

7 – What are your views on the definitions of ‘safely’, ‘timely’, ‘repeatedly’ and ‘in a timely’ manner?

“In the assessment an individual must be able to complete an activity descriptor reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely manner.  Otherwise they should be considered unable to complete the activity described at that level.  In paragraph 7.4 of the explanatory note we set out draft definitions for these as follows:

· Reliably means to a reasonable standard.

· In a timely fashion means in less than twice the time it would take for an individual without any impairment.

· Repeatedly means completed as often during the day as the individual activity requires.  Consideration needs to be given to the cumulative effects of symptoms such as pain and fatigue – i.e. whether completing the activity adversely affects the individual’s ability to subsequently complete other activities.

· Safely means in a fashion that is unlikely to cause harm to the individual, either directly or through vulnerability to the actions of others; or to another person.

What are your views on these?  Some organisations have suggested that these terms should be included within the regulations.  Do you agree? If so, do you have views on how we should do so – for example, as a general provision or referring to them in the detail of activity descriptors?”

Doing it safely means that doing it doesn’t mean putting yourself or others at risk of harm.  It should be made clearer whether this only means physical harm (getting hurt), or whether psychological harm (being made sad or other bad feelings).  WSUN holds a strong view that psychological harm should also count.

  • If it’s certain to cause harm, it isn’t safe.  If there’s a very small chance that it will cause harm, (assuming the person cannot make an informed decision about the level of risk themselves.)
  • If they will need support to make that decision.  Therefore the weighting should be increased.
  • If there is more risk of harm, it should not be considered safe.
  • Doing it in a timely fashion means that they don’t take an unusually long time to do it.  This means that you don’t take twice as long to do it as most people would.  So if you can cook a meal on your own, but it takes you twice as long as most people, they can’t cook a meal in a timely fashion.  If they take even longer than twice as long, that is still not a timely fashion.  If they take longer to shower than most people, but not as much as twice as long, you can shower in a timely fashion.
  • Doing it reliably means that they can do it to a reasonable standard.  If they can only do it badly, that might not be a reasonable standard. So if you can eat without anyone helping, but you spill a lot of food, that might not be considered eating reliably.
  • Doing it repeatedly means that they can do it again, as often as would be normal for that activity.  So if they were talking about cooking a meal, they may only need to do this once a day.  However, it’s normal to get dressed and undressed twice in a day.  If you can only change your clothes once per day, you can’t get dressed and undressed repeatedly.

“Q8 – What are your views on the definitions in the regulations?

“The draft regulations contain a number of definitions in Regulation 1 (Interpretation) and Schedule 1.  Do we need to make changes to any of these?”

WSUN thinks this question is impossible to answer unless we have a detailed knowledge of legal language.  We haven’t been able to simplify it because the language is legally binding and will have specific legal meanings.  WSUN think that this question is too difficult to answer because we need a lot of technical legal knowledge.

However, WSUN feels it’s important to say this, because otherwise the Government will be able to say that people thought that the Draft Regulations 1 to 4 were fair because nobody told them any different.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) update

WSUN has told the PIP (Policy Section) to make an Easy Read or a “Plain English version of this consultation and they have done this however, WSUN is sorry that a lot of the rest of this document is not Easy Read, but most of it is still being talked about in Government.

On 16 January 2012, the PIP Team published more detail on the second draft of the Personal Independent Payment assessment criteria. The PIP Team are seeking further views from disabled people and their organisations to ensure that they get the assessment criteria right. The consultation will run for 15 weeks, from 16 January to 30 April 2012.

You can view this consultation by visiting the DWP website http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2012/pip.shtml where you will find more information.

The final draft assessment regulations will be laid later this year, subject to

Royal Assent of the Bill, and will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny through the ‘affirmative procedure’, which means that to become law they must be approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. You can view the Personal Independence Payment Policy by visiting the DWP website: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/disability/personal-independence-payment/

As always you use this information to put together your own individual response. However, WSUN will be replying to the PIP “Assessment Thresholds and Consultation”.  But if you would like to support us in giving your views on these concerns.  Could we please ask you get your answers back to us, by no later than Tuesday, 10th April 12, so that we will have a chance to collate your answer, in time to meet the PIP Team deadline, of Monday, 30th April 12.

If you follow this link below, it provides the consultation in different formats, (including; Easy Read, Rich Text, British Sign Language and Large Print Formats.)

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2012/pip.shtml

If you require these documents, in hard copy, or in any of the above formats, do contact WSUN.

PIP Reforms in the Bill – Amendments

The following amendments to the bill have been made for Personal Independence Payment:

  • There will be a 3-month qualifying period and the health condition or disability must be expected to last for a further 9 months.
  • People in care homes will be entitled to the mobility component so long as they satisfy the qualifying conditions.
  • Two independent reports will be now be conducted; at two years and four years.

Time table for doing this:

Plans for the PIP to happen have now been agreed by Ministers.

The PIP Team will begin by taking a few thousand new people who need to claim PIP from April 2013. Once PIP Team have tested the processes and systems, PIP Team will take new claims from all claimants from around June 2013.

Any existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) recipients who report a change in their condition from Autumn 2013 will be reassessed for entitlement to Personal Independence Payment. This will also apply to claimants whose DLA award is due to be renewed from autumn 2013.

The PIP Team will also begin informing all remaining DLA claimants about PIP and about when the reassessment is due. Again, the PIP Team will begin by reassessing a few thousand cases from Autumn 2013. The current planning thoughts are that there will be a system of random national selection for reassessment, and they be looking at exactly how that will work. They will then move to full reassessment, probably in early 2014.

All existing DLA claimants will have been given the opportunity to claim PIP by March 2016.

The Implementation Development Group

The PIP Implementation Development Group, comprising people from over 50 disabled peoples’ organisations, will continue to help shape delivery arrangements for the new benefit. PIP Team now have a programme of activity in place for 2012 and in the next six months will set up a number of subject-specific workshops looking at issues like the claimant journey, changes of circumstances, appeals, passported benefits and communications.

Other groups are also being set up to focus on issues that affect specific claimant groups, and comprise representatives of support organisations who work with these particular groups. Two groups have been established so far, focussing on:

  • young people (16-24) transitioning from DLA
  • assistive technology for sensory impaired claimants.

The PIP Team are also working closely with DWP Partner Managers as they engage with local disability and health organisations in their area. They are seeking to up skill these organisations to effectively advise people on Personal Independence Payment. To inform our approach to this, the PIP Team want to understand the needs of these organisations, and views are currently being sought by DWP Partner Managers and our ongoing research with local partner organisations.

Further information sent to us on 13th March 2012 regarding the PIP:

Dear All,

I am writing to let you know that DWP have today confirmed plans to introduce Personal Independence Payment in stages so that they can learn from each stage and get the whole process right.

The Department have also announced how the Disability and Carers Service will organise itself internally to deliver the new benefit.

New claims to Personal Independence Payment

Bootle Benefits Centre will administer the first new claims from spring 2013, from areas including Merseyside, North West England, Cumbria, Cheshire and North East England. People in these locations will be the first to claim the new benefit.

This region has been chosen for a number of reasons. Primarily because Bootle handles about the right number of new claims to provide a meaningful test of Personal Independence Payment processes and IT functionality without overloading new systems.

Bootle is also a high performing unit, and has a good track record on implementing innovative ways of working.

The remaining network of benefits centres currently administering new claims for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will start to take on new claims for PIP from summer 2013, once evidence is in place that processes are working as intended. In addition, this network will handle continuing DLA claims for children.

However the Department is currently reviewing operational structures in readiness for Personal Independence Payment and the existing regional boundaries for the benefits centres may change. We will let you know the outcome of the review.

Reassessing existing DLA claimants for Personal Independence Payment

If a person is already getting DLA they will need to make a claim for the new benefit. DWP will write to them to let them know when they can make a claim to Personal Independence Payment and how to do that.

If a person’s DLA award becomes subject to change after autumn 2013, for example if they have a change in their condition, or new evidence comes to light which means that we may need to look at that their entitlement again, DWP will ask them if they want to claim Personal Independence Payment. It will not be possible to review their DLA award. If they decide not to claim PIP, their DLA award will end.

All current DLA claimants of working age will have been contacted about assessment for Personal Independence Payment by spring 2016.

Blackpool Benefits Centre (formerly known as the Disability Contact and Processing Unit) based at Warbreck House, Blackpool, will administer all reassessment activity.

DWP expect to publish a further policy briefing document on reassessment shortly.

DWP will be consulting on these arrangements and other features of Personal Independence Payment. We will also begin to draft Regulations under the powers we have in the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

ODI Communications Team

 

Page last updated: May 16th, 2012 at 4:03 am