Archive for the ‘ dla ’ Category

PIP Application Advice

I know a lot of folks that are either apply for, reapplying for and being transferred on to PIP. Heck, I’m soon going to be in the latter category. A question that often comes up is “How best can I apply?”, or “What should I write?”. Here’s my advice and I hope you find at least some of it useful.

Once you have you PIP form the best way is obviously to contact your local CAB and see if they can help you. They’ve done millions of these and know it inside and out.

Unfortunately the CAB isn’t always an option for many of us. Then we need to find ways to do it alone. In these situations I think it’s important to try to put yourself in the position of a DWP decision maker;

  • they are under pressure not to find too many eligible
  • they have to read a lot of these in a day
  • they are probably tired, stressed, and a bit numb to these applications
  • they’ve probably seen it all before

It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. If you can make it easy for them to give you points then hopefully they will

There is a simple formula I use to do these and it is as follows;

Firstly…

Look at the tables that show you what the criteria is for each section. You can find them in a handy table in this PDF from the Citizens Advice Bureau by clicking here. Or I will provide a list of the current points at the bottom of this post for those that would prefer it.

Once you have read those, look again at the wording and consider the following:

Does it apply to you?

Continue reading

Advertisements

DLA Applications and Appeals

I know that DLA is vanishing very soon but there are still lots of people who are still applying & appealing the benefit.

If you are then you might well find this free guide from the Disability Law Centre extremely helpful. It details in plain English exactly what they are looking for to award DLA. If you are answering the initial questions then bear these criteria in mind when you write your answers

So, if you believe that you qualify for Lower Rate Care you need to meet at least one of the following two statements;

1. To get the low rate you have to need care and attention in connection
with your bodily functions for ‘a significant portion of the day’ (usually at least
an hour); or
You are unable prepare and cook a main meal for yourself. This is known as
the ‘Cooking Test’. 

If in your form you don’t clearly express that you are unable to prepare AND cook a main meal for yourself then you won’t be eligible. Or if when explaining how many minutes care you need for various tasks they don’t add up to at least an hour you quite probably won’t be found to meet the requirements either.
Of course it’s no guarantee that it will go through straight away, they may miss something, say your evidence to support your claims was inconclusive, you didn’t score highly enough on a Atos assessment or a whole host of other things. 
You can though use the information in this guide to really help you write a strong appeal. If when you appeal you follow a simple format where you quote the criteria you think you meet to start with like this;
“I believe I meet the criteria for the Low Rate Care Component because I cannot reliably/ I cannot prepare and cook a main meal for myself.”
Then you really should finish off by tying that statement to the relevant evidence such as;
“I get extremely disorientated when trying to cook which makes it impossible for me to complete either the preparation or cooking of food. My doctor/consultant/OT/social worker explains this in the letter I have included/did include with my initial application as evidence.”
If it doesn’t work as part of a written appeal then hopefully a tribunal will listen.
If anyone else has any good resources then please list them in the comments section.

DWP announces reconsideration of eligibility criteria for PIP

The We Are Spartacus network have released a press release about the announcement that the government will re-consult on the mobility criteria. If you’d like to share it or simply read it then it’s here:

Disability campaigners welcome today’s announcement that the Government will re-consult on the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment, which replaces Disability Living Allowance for working age disabled adults. Organisations and individuals have been campaigning vigorously on this issue since we were shocked to hear, in December last year, that the walking distance criteria for the mobility component, and therefore for assistance from the Motability scheme, had been tightened from 50 metres to 20 metres.

A disabled man, Steven Sumpter, issued  legal proceedings in March arguing that the consultation process on the new benefit was flawed because the Secretary of State did not consult on the proposal to introduce the new benchmark distance of 20 metres. This was only introduced after all the consultation stages had passed. Consultees were therefore denied the opportunity to comment on the proposal or to explain to the Secretary of State how such a restriction to the benefit will affect them and their independence.

For many years the distance of 50 metres has been accepted as an appropriate distance criteria to determine limited walking ability – including for eligibility for the blue badge, for guidance to achieve an accessible built environment, in relation to other benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance and, through legal precedent and practice, for determining whether a claimant is ‘virtually unable to walk’ for the purposes of Disability Living Allowance.

Jane Young, an independent campaigner working with the We are Spartacus network, says:

“We are relieved that the DWP is to reconsider. Our concern in relation to the 20-metre distance is that disabled people with limited walking ability, who are dependent on their Motability car or other independent mobility solution funded by their allowance, would lose their eligibility and be unable to make essential journeys – to work, to visit their GP, to hospital appointments or to social activities. We fear many would effectively become isolated in their own homes, with all the implications of that for their mental and physical health.”

Whilst the Government’s announcement is extremely positive, we remain cautious. We need to make sure that the views of disabled people and their organisations are taken seriously and that the ultimate decision focuses on meeting the needs of disabled people rather than being narrowly focused on cutting the cost of the benefit. The ability of disabled people to participate in society depends on support for independent mobility; this should be the focus of this fresh consultation.

The Real Impact of PIP on Social Care

I’ve just finished reading about how PIP (Personal Independence Payments) will impact on social care services and it was really shocking. Simon Duffy from the Centre for Welfare Reform writes;

“The replacement of DLA with PIP will damage local communities by reducing the incomes of people in poverty, reducing charging income for social care and increasing the numbers entitled to social care. An average area will lose £7.5 million, but could add further costs of up to £11.25 million.”

Local councils spend a lot on social care for children and adults, in fact over 50% of their budgets are spent on it. Sadly, because it is where the most money is spent by already cash-strapped councils it is an area that is being hit hard by cuts. By 2015 local government is having it’s budgets cut by around 40%, with an average of 33% of that falling on social care.

Currently getting social care from your local council, can be like trying to squeeze blood from a stone. The level of disability that you must reach high that many in genuine need are turned away for not being “disabled enough” or they are turned away because the receive benefits like DLA which the council believes they can use to pay for care themselves. Those that do meet the standard often only receive about 8 hours of paid care a week with extra costs for much needed care being met by the disabled person or their families. This money, when not coming from personal wealth, comes the Independent Living Fund (ILF) – which is being scrapped – and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – which is now being replaced by PIP. With council social care budgets being reduced by 33% many more disabled people in need of care will no longer be able to access care via social services which will leave them reliant on other sources of funding.

With the ILF gone, and there being a very high incidence of poverty associated with disability I hope you can see why access to the money from DLA, now becoming PIP is already and will be even more crucial when it comes to purchasing much needed social care. The kicker is that the government are planning to use the transition to PIP to cut the numbers currently receiving DLA by between 20-28%. They believe that figure is representative of those who are receiving DLA fraudulently (by which I mean people who’s conditions have improved but who haven’t told the DWP about it) or are simply not disabled enough to need the extra income. This figure seems to have been pulled out of the air. Regardless of the flawed ideology behind the changes the end result will be less money from DLA/PIP for disabled people to spend on care which means they will have to rely on the local council. Dr Simon Duffy explains;

“The government intends to reduce spending on DLA by PIP [1]. This changes will be phased in by 2018, by which time it will cut the incomes of disabled people by £1.5 billion [2]. This means that an average local authority, with a population of 300,000, will lose income that has been targeted at disabled adults of over £7.5 million. This will be a further blow to local economies. In addition it will inevitably have a further knock-on effect for the social care system.”

As I mentioned earlier, many are told they can’t have social care because they get DLA. If only 5% of those who will be loosing DLA when it becomes PIP become eligible for social care then there will be a additional cost of £1.1m. If 25% become eligible then there will be an extra £5.6m cost and if 50% become eligible there will be an additional £11.25m cost. This means that councils could be loosing between £8.6m – £18.75m at a time when council budgets social care budgets are already stretched to breaking point.

Realistically, without getting extra funding from central government to make up the deficit, councils will have to respond by raising the bar regarding eligibility criteria. This will make it far harder for many disabled people to access much needed care. Without access to social care disabled peoples independence is sorely curtailed. For many of us social care means we can go to work, take part in everyday activities and live in our own homes. Taking that away will be devastating to the lives of many.

I believe that the government would have a far harder time justifying these cuts had they done a cumulative impact assessment first. A cumulative impact assessment is when they look at knock on costs (both financial and ethical) as well as savings of the total impact of all the cuts to disability related benefits and services. We are trying to put pressure on the government to produce a cumulative impact assessment via a e-petition, you can sign it by clicking this link.

References:
[1] Kennedy S (2012) Personal Independence Payment: an introduction. London, House of Commons Library.
[2] DWP (2012) Personal Independence Payment – Reassessment and Impacts. London, DWP
Notes on PIP’s Impact on Social Care by Simon Duffy, Centre for Welfare Reform

Draft PIP Regulations Pass Through The Legislation Committee

Today the draft PIP regulations had a final reading which needed to be voted through by the “Eleventh Delegated Legislation Committee”. They were voted through by a fairly close margin of 10 for, 7 against.

I’ve made a storify of my live tweets for those who are interested, sorry if some are a bit harsh or don’t make too much sense I was having to type fast to keep up with the speed they were speaking at and I’m a) not a fan of PIP and b) dyslexic.
[View the story “PIP Regulations – My Live Tweets” on Storify]

%d bloggers like this: