More on Personal Independence Payment

Following the Lords debate, and disquiet in the press, I should perhaps add a further comment on PIP. The government’s assumption that the reformed new benefit will have fewer claimants than DLA seems mainly to have been predicated on a longer qualification time, removal of those with lower dependencies and some special rules, like the removal of some entitlements to people in residential care. At the same time, the government is proposing a redefinition of rules which will make the benefit more accessible to people with psychiatric illnesses; and it has made no proposal about the very large numbers of older people who have continued on DLA in preference to claiming Attendance Allowance. If that was the whole story, it could mean that PIP will have as many claimants as DLA; it might even have more. But it is not the whole story. The prospect of reducing the number of claims radically seems to depend primarily on the process of re-assessment and disqualification of existing claimants, and the government does not need its reforms to pass to achieve that.

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