Confidential documents seen by Benefits and Work reveal that the government will tomorrow lay regulations to delay the introduction of personal independence payment (PIP) for some claimants by three weeks, whilst it tries to decide what to do about the mobility component of PIP. The document also claims that further delays may be needed if the government decides to change the mobility rules in response to widespread outrage.
There has been uproar over the decision by the DWP to reduce the qualifying distance for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP from 50 metres to 20 metres. As a result of legal action by disabled campaigners, the government were forced to hastily launch a consultation on the changes. That consultation ended on 5th August and received over 1100 responses, the overwhelming majority of which will have been hostile to the changes.
Benefits and Work has seen confidential DWP documents which state that:
On 12th September DWP will be delaying regulations to amend the start date for natural reassessment from 7 October to 28 October.
Background: The Government recently held a consultation from 24 June to the 5 August on the PIP “Moving Around” assessment criteria. Over 1100 responses were received from both individuals and organisations. In order that consideration can be fully given to the responses received and whether any changes are necessary to the assessment criteria, the reassessment of some existing DLA claimants will now start from 28 October.
The document then tells DWP staff what ‘lines to take’ should they be asked questions about the changes, including the following responses:
Why is reassessment being delayed?
The Government recently held a consultation on the PIP ‘Moving Around’ assessment criteria. All the responses received are being carefully considered before the Government makes a decision about whether changes to the criteria are necessary. We are therefore delaying reassessment for some DLA recipients by three weeks to 28th October, to give the Government more time to consider.
Does only delaying by three weeks mean you won’t be making any changes to the PIP Mobility criteria?
No. The Government is currently considering all the responses to the PIP ‘Moving Around’ consultation. No decisions have been made yet about whether changes to the criteria are necessary. If the Government decides changes are needed, we will further delay the start of reassessment until after those changes have been made.
What does this mean for people who were going to be reassessed for PIP from 7th October?
Reassessment for certain groups of existing DLA claimants will only begin from 28th October. Claimants who are approaching age 16, those who report a change of circumstances or those whose fixed term award is due to expire on or after 17 March 2014 and who would have been reassessed from 7th October, will now be considered under normal DLA rules. Existing DLA claimants who want to claim PIP will only be able to do so from 28th October. New claims to PIP will continue as normal.