The recent figures published by the BBC recently on the amount of disabled people having their Motability Vehicles taken away when the DWP order a reassessment from DLA to PIP is very disturbing.
According to the BBC statistics: “More than 650,000 people currently use the Motability Scheme, which allows disabled people to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair using their government-funded mobility allowance. The scheme also helps towards the cost of adaptations – such as a hoist for a wheelchair or hand controls – that the individual requires.”
There is a very simple example in the report of a female amputee who also has Spina–Bifida. She can only take a few steps, but the assessor decided she did not match the criteria for retaining her mobility. She appealed and won the case, but it is reported that:
“To date, Motability has seen around 51,200 people join the scheme using PIP. Of those previously on higher rate DLA, 31,200 people have so far been reassessed for PIP, and of those, 55% – or 17,300 – have kept their car… But the remaining 45% – 13,900 people – have lost the higher rate and therefore their car as well. “
It is a proposal in the Smith Commission which is the base document for transferring Welfare Powers to Scotland, that PIP stay the same as it is now, or some new form of it, and that should be the responsibility of the Scottish Government. This was referred to in a strongly worded letter to the both governments in January 2015, by the Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Bureau Scotland, Margaret Lynch, in the days before the Smith Commission published its findings, and following the Referendum.
Stating the view of the CAB at that time she said:
“Therefore I’m calling on the DWP to halt the migration of all existing DLA claimants to PIP and I hope this will be backed by the Scotland Office and the Scottish Government. CAS has already detailed the massive delays that new claimants are seeing in getting a PIP assessment and then having a decision made. Whilst these delays continue, sick and disabled clients are facing severe hardship, unable to meet the costs of living, and getting into debt. The DWP should concentrate on getting the process right for these new claimants and let current DLA claimants stay on their current award until such times as new Scottish system is in place”.
I have looked extensively but not exhaustively to try and find what is actually happening in Scotland, or get a better timetable, but can only find papers that show DLA/PIP is in transition.
This simple clear guide to what is happening and what to do has been produced in recent months by Renfrewshire Council.
This West of Scotland council advise :
“PIP involves face-to-face assessments and you’ll be reassessed under new rules. PIP has a different structure to DLA. PIP’s daily living component has 2 rates instead of the 3 rates that DLA’s care component has. PIP involves face-to-face assessments and you’ll be reassessed under new rules. PIP has a different structure to DLA. “
As far as I can decipher from this blizzard of changing dates, transition, and what is happening as regards DLA/PIP, the best thing for any person awaiting news of the DLA/PIP transition is to do nothing until you receive a letter from the DWP. The sage advice seems to be to NOT to apply for PIP until you get the letter. It is then very important to contact them and do not delay your call. If you want any advice before contacting the DWP, and I think even the most assured of us do, especially in light of the BBC report, there are people at our Office who will gladly help with that, and any subsequent appeal that might arise from the removal of the benefit or a component of it.
Nothing is guaranteed anymore, not even for those who had a lifetime award status for receiving DLA. The only people ‘safe’ are those who attained the age of 65 on/before 8 April 2013. Children will receive DLA until they turn 16
Maybe we should contact our MSP’s and ask what is happening. Find your MSP here and write him or her an email.