Personal Independence Payment has proved to be more costly than the system it replaced. If only we had realised, the Office for Budget Responsibility complains, we shouldn’t have accepted that PIP would deliver the savings that the DWP was predicting.
“At the time of its use in our December 2012 forecast, the results from [the DWP survey] appeared the best available guide to the assessment process. But hindsight has revealed several issues with the nature and use of the results … including: the voluntary nature of participation; the hypothetical nature of the assessment; subsequent changes to assessment criteria; and a sample that was unlikely to be representative of new PIP claims. It is now clear that the results were biased rather than merely uncertain.”
Among the excuses, the OBR notes that the forecasts are subject to changes in the composition of the population which is making claims, legal challenges about the scope of the benefit, and changes in the way that benefits are delivered.
Oh, my: who’d have thought it? Well, as it happens, I did. I wrote in this blog on 15th December 2012:
I think the predictions are likely to be wrong. The common experience of selective benefits has been that when governments try to impose firmer boundaries, they are liable to discover that needs are deeper, more complex and more difficult to reject than they imagine. The distinction between the lower and middle care rates on DLA has always been confusing, and many people can argue persuasively for higher banding. There are new opportunities to include people with psychiatric disorders. And the PIP rules do not exclude the growing numbers of older people claiming DLA. Short term reductions have to be offset against the general trend, and as time goes on, inexorably, there will be pressure to extend protection. That happened with Single Payments, it happened with Incapacity Benefit, it has happened with DLA, and it will probably happen here, too.