Payments that don’t achieve Personal Independence.

Did you know:

  • Government planning to tighten up on PIP for those who rely on aids and equipment?
  • “Daily living” for disabled people is reduced to basic survival?
  • Policy changes need to be based on good evidence?

The UK Government has recently been consulting on how aids and equipment should be taken in to account when assessing people with limiting long-term health conditions/disabilities for Personal Independence Payments (PIP).  These payments are supposed aim to cover some of the extra costs of living with a disability but it seems that basic survival is more the measure than any concept of modern “living”.

For example, the criteria considered in relation to personal care are:

  1. Preparing food
  2. Taking nutrition
  3. Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition
  4. Washing and bathing
  5. Managing toilet needs or incontinence
  6. Dressing and undressing
  7. Communicating verbally
  8. Reading and understanding signs, symbols and words
  9. Engaging with other people face to face
  10. Making budgeting decisions

But where is the consideration of cleaning the living space, changing the sheets, cleaning and ironing clothes, finding things, managing heating controls and reading utility meters, checking cupboards to make a shopping list, changing a light bulb, connecting and using a television, using a computer as policy moves to “digital by default”, using a phone, putting out rubbish bins, handling correspondence and more.

It seems that “Personal Independence” can mean people living in filthy clothes in filthy accommodation, able to cook but not shop and not able to check if the heating is on!  So it is not surprising that judicial decisions have tended to be rather more liberal in their interpretation.  And arguments that some of the aids and equipment that might help can be provided by medical services or social care won’t wash either as we all know about the financial strain across the NHS and that social care is very limited according to income.

The review of PIP is even scarier as they are proposing to base policy changes on just a sample of 105 cases – with no information about the statistical significance of such a small sample, the selection methodology, the overall numbers of claimants, the costs and potential savings.  It all begins to sound like rather forgone conclusions with the “evidence” tailing behind!

Penny Melville-Brown

Disability Dynamics ltd

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

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