How Long Have You Been Waiting for Personal Independence Payments?
Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
were introduced into small areas in April 2013 to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
. However, backlogs and delays have plagued the system according to the National Audit Office (NAO)
What is PIP?
PIP is a non-means tested benefit
to support the daily living and mobility costs of disabled people. Its intention was to replace DLA for working age people, those between 16 and 64, and aimed to match more closely the needs of those who it was intended for.
Between April and October in 2013, delays started to occur because the assessment process took longer than the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)
expected. On top of this, they have no idea how long those who have made applications are likely to wait for an answer. Delays such as this cause stress and financial problems for those who are dependent on the money
they are entitled to receive. The DWP have also postponed assessments of any pre-existing DLA claims, leaving more disabled people than expected in a state of limbo. In total, 92,000 people have outstanding claims with both Atos Healthcare and Capita Health and Wellbeing, the companies responsible for carrying out the assessments.
Community Care on the Chopping Block
The long-term goal of the switch from DLA to PIP was to make a saving of £3million; but at what cost to the disabled?
Community care services are being slashed
from the local authority budget during this time of austerity, so people are looking to benefits like the PIP to plug the gap in their finances left by the cuts.
The PIP should have been a lifeline to those that need it but the government has introduced further hurdles which stop them from benefitting from a system that is meant for them.
Following on from this fiasco, it is extremely important that if you have been receiving community care support from social services and you think you should be getting more help, or social services have told you that they will not help you, you should think about challenging that decision
It can be quite a complicated process to get the support to which you are entitled. For that reason, it is important to deal with a solicitor who is competent and experienced in the field.