5 things you need to know about today's PIP changes

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that helps cover the extra costs you can face if you need help doing everyday tasks or find it difficult to get around. It’s replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age across the UK. 

Last month the Government unexpectedly announced amendments to the PIP assessment criteria. 

>> Find out what we did to campaign against the changes

These changes are coming into effect today (16 March 2017). Here’s what you need to know.

1) What are the PIP changes?

The PIP assessment is points-based, which means you score points depending on how you perform different activities. There are 10 activities relating to your daily living needs and two activities relating to your mobility.

These changes slightly restrict how you can get points for one of the ten daily living activities, and one of the two mobility activities.

The affected activities are daily living activity three – managing therapy or monitoring a health condition, mobility activity one – planning and following a journey.   

2) I get the mobility component of PIP. Will I be affected?

There’s a small chance that the changes might affect your mobility award when you come to be reassessed.

If you have difficulties planning and following a journey mainly because of your physical difficulties, the mobility criteria change is unlikely to affect your PIP mobility award.

You will only be affected if it’s mainly mental health or cognitive issues caused by your MS that cause you difficulties planning and following a journey. For example, if you find it difficult because of anxiety or depression, there is a chance your mobility award could change, following reassessment.

3) I get the daily living component of PIP. Will I be affected?

There’s a small chance that the changes might affect your daily living award when you come to be reassessed.

The change will only affect you if you need supervision, prompting, or assistance to take medication and/or to monitor your MS. If you were awarded points for this in your last PIP assessment, there’s a small chance your daily living award could change when you come to be reassessed.

4) I’m still on DLA but will need to apply for PIP soon. Should I still apply?

Yes, you should certainly still apply. The changes only affect a small part of the PIP assessment. There’s a good chance that the parts that are relevant to you will not be affected. And even if you do miss out on some points because of the changes, you may well score enough points on other activities to qualify for PIP.

5) Why is the Government making these changes?

In November 2016, two court judgments were made about how the two relevant PIP activity descriptors (daily living activity three – managing therapy or monitoring a health condition, and mobility activity one – planning and following a journey) should apply. The judgements made it clear how some wording in the regulations should be interpreted in future.

The Government is arguing that these judgements have broadened the criteria people can be awarded PIP for, and will result in unplanned spending.

The Government believes that the changes are necessary to “restore the original aim of the benefit”. The changes effectively reverse the court judgements.

6) What did we do to stop these changes?

We don’t agree with these changes and have campaigned to stop them going through. Regrettably, the Government passed them last week. So they’re coming in - despite strong opposition from us and other charities, and concerns raised by welfare experts and influential committees in the House of Lords.

Through our MS:Enough campaign, we will continue to call for a welfare system that makes sense for our community. That includes improvements to the PIP assessment to ensure it reflects the barriers faced by people with MS. 

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We want a system where everyone with MS has the support they need. 

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