The Committee published its report on reform of DLA and the introduction of the replacement benefit Personal Independence Payment, Government support towards the additional living costs of working–age disabled people, in February 2012. The Government Response was published in May 2012.
The Committee’s Report expressed a number of concerns about the Government’s plans, particularly around the need for lessons to be learned from the WCA experience, the requirement for further testing of the eligibility criteria before implementation and ensuring that the PIP assessment contracts incentivise accurate and consistent assessment reports.
The Committee held a one-off evidence session on 21 January 2013 to consider a number of issues in the light of newly published consultation responses and the final draft of the relevant Regulations. Issues on which the Committee sought clarity included:
DWP’s projected caseload and expenditure reductions
Potential knock-on impacts on NHS and Local Authority care services
The PIP assessment model, including:
- The proportion of claimants who will require a face-to-face assessment;
- The process for gathering additional evidence;
- The approach to assessing fluctuating conditions; and
- The potential for scrutiny of DWP guidance to assessors and Decision Makers
Changes to the final activity descriptors, in particular the threshold for the enhanced rate of PIP mobility component
The contracts with external suppliers for the delivery of the PIP assessment, including how best practice will be spread and how suppliers will be held to account in the event of poor performance
The expected volume of appeals
The implementation timetable, in particular whether there will be sufficient time to learn lessons and implement changes quickly.