Personal Independence Payment

I have been looking at the consultation paper about Personal Independence Payment with some puzzlement.
The purpose of this reform was to replace the Disability Living Allowance, which the government thought was broken. This reform holds to the same basic structure as DLA – “care” and “mobility” components, and the denial of mobility support to older people unless their condition develops earlier. There is very little in the document which tries to deliver what the government claimed they could deliver – a personalised, sensitive and responsive benefit, administered through professionals. That is probably a good thing; it may make sense for physical support and care to be highly responsive, but people want and need support for income to be stable and reliable. There is also little in the reform that deals with the kinds of issues that have presented genuine problems, notably the response to mental disorders and conditions like multiple sclerosis that fluctuate frequently. That is not so good; people need the system to be consistent and predictable, and at present there is little prospect of either. As so often happens in benefit reform, it seems all too likely that the government will discover that their reforms have not had the effect they imagined, and they’ll have to come back for more.

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