My name is Naomi and I am a Volunteer working at the Office of Nic Dakin MP for a couple of days. I am doing this in partnership with MenCap with the aim for paid work in the future. So far I am enjoying my short time here.
One of the first things I have been asked to do is to write an article for Nic’s website on something that interests me.
Some of my concerns on Personal Independence Allowance (PIP)
As someone who will be eventually applying for a transfer from ‘DLA’ to ‘PIP’ I naturally have concerns about it. As with many claimants I do not feel confident or comfortable with this new system. Because I have these feelings I decided to do some research into it, as all I have heard about it has been from the media. The media can be biased and selective in what information or stories they wish to publish which can encourage and re-enforce these feelings. When I started on my research I quickly realised one of the problems is the GOV.UK website for PIP is that it is not the easiest of websites to look through. What I mean by this is the language can be too complex for some to be able to understand and also the website is simple black on white, which may look professional, but it is a challenge to read if a visitor has any difficulties in reading such as dyslexia or impaired vision. Another problem is the information is very basic with the usual Overview, What you’ll get, Eligibility, How to claim and Appeals. But nothing on what the scoring system is nor how it works. Which means some of my questions and concerns where answers yet more were created.
I have however had the opportunity while being a part of Nic’s office to read through a booklet with more in depth information about PIP which has explained what the scoring system is and the categories each score. Some are surprising and personally I think are quite wrong. An example is when moving around, the less you can walk the high you score regardless whether it is aided or unaided. So if an applicant can walk 50 metres aided (such as a walking stick or a crutch) but 20 metres unaided they are penalised and put down are able to walk 50 metres. Such aids are however are not a ‘cure’ for mobility problems as the pain is easily redistributed to the arm/s instead due to having to support body weight that the legs would normally do.
The PIP system also generalises applicants where they would have to fit into set criteria rather than read through individual cases and conditions as the Employability Support Allowance (ESA) does.This can have the effect that the applicant feel that they are a statistic and not a person.
Overall my knowledge on PIP is a lot better than before yet I do wonder why the DLA system could not have remained and just have had the current beneficiaries reviewed. Surely this would have be cheaper and not given as such stress to all beneficiaries affected.