The Government is proposing changes to Personal Independence Payments (PIP), which is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

The Government’s proposed changes to PIP would affect over 160,000 people both in and out of work, who have extra costs related to their disability. PIP is awarded to cover the extra costs that disabled people face due to their disability/ies. Disability agenda Scotland has produced the following briefing for the House of Lords.

In December, the Upper Tribunal court ruled that people who find it difficult to leave the house because of anxiety, panic attacks, and other mental health problems should be able to receive the higher rate of PIP. The tribunal also said that claimants who needed support to take medication should be assessed in the same way as those managing therapies such as dialysis at home. Last week, the Government brought forward legislation that would stop the court’s judgement from coming into effect. 

We are disappointed that the UK Government did not refer the regulations to the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC), which is entitled to be consulted on proposed changes to social security law. There is a clear role here to prevent this unfair and disingenuous step backwards by the Government, following a clear judgement by the independent judiciary. 

The regulations are a clear diversion from the stated aims of the legislation agreed in 2012, as it excludes people who experience ‘overwhelming psychological distress’ from being eligible for the higher mobility component, for instance. These changes undermine rather than restore the original intent of the legislation. People likely to be hit by the PIP changes are people with learning disabilities, epilepsy, diabetes, anxiety and dementia. The proposed regulations highlight the lack of ‘parity of esteem’ for mental and physical health. 

Disability Agenda Scotland (DAS) urges MPs and Peers to reject these changes.

Read the full DAS House of Lords briefing.

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