Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is the new benefit which replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
DLA was introduced in the UK in 1992, and its main purpose was to compensate for the extra costs associated with disability and it was therefore not means tested, non contributory and not taxable. Although the majority of people claiming DLA had mobility issues, some disabled people would also choose to claim it to cover their personal care costs. Many were awarded DLA for life in recognition that their impairment/health issue would be with them for life. DLA was for those both in and out of work for the extra costs associated with disability. The Government presented PIP as a ‘like for like’ payment to replace DLA.
PIP was introduced in 2012 to replace DLA, the government arguing that the increasing number of claimants made DLA unsustainable. PIP is therefore more restrictive and will lead not only to a reduced number of claimants but also to a reduced number of claimants entitled to the enhanced rate of the mobility component. http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2014/01/shocking-pip-figure-raises-new-motability-concerns/
PIP has also been riddled in controversy because of Atos, the firm contracted by the government to undertake the PIP and the Work Capability Assessments, which has led to 1 million disabled people appealing in court, with 43% of them succeeding in having their fit for work decision overturned. https://dpac.uk.net/2012/11/esa-appeals-increase-by-40-what-the-newspapers-wont-print/
Therefore it really came as a surprise to discover that in 2012 PIP had become a sanctionable benefit.
However aborrhent sanctions are, there is a kind of twisted logic behind them. JSA and ESA claimants have to sign a contract (under duress, meaning threat of sanctions) and have to comply with the terms of this ‘contract’ (again under threat of sanctions). If they don’t, they will lose some of their benefits and many JSA and ESA claimants have been sanctioned, some 120 disabled people up to three years http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/3-year-benefit-ban-hits-120-disabled-people-under-new-sanctions-regime
But with PIP, there is no contract, no Jobseeker’s agreement, no Claimant Commitment and it still remains a recognition that life for disabled people is more expensive, if they have to buy appliances or care that non disabled people don’t need in order to live a decent and dignified life or to work.
So what does it take to have your PIP sanctioned? Is there somebody in the twittersphere or reading this article who can answer this question? Because making PIP sanctionable does not make any sense, unless the DWP or IDS have a cunning plan. And they might.