Personal Independence Payment Campaign – Major improvements in Assessment Criteria

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= = = Message from the RNIB = = =

Personal Independence Payment Campaign | Major improvements announced

Dear Members,

The long awaited Personal Independence Payments (PIP) regulations were published by the government yesterday (13th December 2012). These set out the criteria that will be used to re-assess people currently receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

When the draft criteria were published earlier this year, they failed to recognise the needs of blind and partially sighted people in serious and fundamental ways. In response, thousands of you joined the campaign to demand a re-write of the draft so that blind and partially sighted people won’t lose out when PIP replaces DLA. Yesterday’s announcement shows that as a result of this high-profile campaign there have been significant improvements to the PIP assessment criteria

• Mobility – the government have changed the criteria to recognise the use of a white cane on a par with using a guide dog as an aid to getting around. This means that people currently on the higher rate of DLA should now get the enhanced mobility rate of PIP – a fantastic outcome thanks to your campaigning activity.

• Daily Living – the government have changed the activity on communicating, meaning that someone who cannot see the information they are reading scores higher on the needs assessment, regardless of their ability to read braille or use speech generation software. This means that severely visually impaired people should qualify for at least standard rate PIP in this category.

• Reassessment delay – the vast majority of DLA claimants will not now be reassessed for PIP until October 2015, giving an important pause for the government to assess how early pilots are working and make improvements to the reassessment process.

These are fantastic achievements for all of you who wrote to and visited your MPs, gained local news coverage and took many many other creative actions to demonstrate the importance of DLA over the course of the campaign. Thank you!

Although the government has now published the final PIP assessment criteria, the guidance that will be used by assessors is not finalised and we still have serious concerns about how partially sighted people will be assessed on the daily living criteria. Please write to your MP to tell them you are pleased that significant changes have been made but that there is an urgent need for greater clarity around the criteria for “Reading and understanding signs, symbols, and words”. This can be provided in the guidance that will be used by the people at the two organisations (Atos and Capita) who will be doing the assessments. Take action today to help make sure the Government gets this guidance right..

At the moment we are not able to answer specific queries about the entitlement but you can register to receive PIP email updates on our website. We will email you when further details are announced and we have analysed what this means for blind and partially sighted people.

Thank you for your support for this campaign and throughout 2012.

Best wishes,

Steve Winyard
RNIB head of policy and campaigns

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