Aids and appliances and the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
LITRG has responded to a Department for Work and Pensions consultation on changes to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The LITRG submission focuses on our area of expertise, which is the interaction of PIP with tax credits and the tax system. We are particularly concerned that under some of the options people will not only lose PIP but also passported benefits and potentially carers allowance that their carer may receive.
Currently, in order to qualify for PIP daily living component, claimants need to be awarded at least 8 points for the standard rate or 12 points for enhanced rate. Points are awarded under 10 descriptors for daily living activities such as washing, dressing, preparing food and budgeting. For some descriptors, points can be awarded if the claimant needs to use an aid or appliance to carry out that activity.
The DWP consultation raises concerns that the benefit is not working as intended where people score 8 points from aids and appliance descriptors. Their latest review and sampling exercise suggests a that significant number of people who are likely to have low or minimal additional costs are being awarded the daily living component solely based on points due to aids and appliances. DWP say this is inconsistent with the original policy intent of awarding the benefit to claimants with greatest need and the consultation outlines five options for change.
Working Tax Credit currently allows people in receipt of PIP to work 16 hours (rather than 24 or 30) therefore if they lose entitlement to PIP, they may also lose entitlement to WTC. The lower hours requirement in WTC is to reflect the fact that people with disabilities may not be able to work as many hours in some cases. We have raised similar concerns with interactions with the tax system, where tax advantages could be lost if the options proposed are implemented.
The LITRG submission can be found here.