Today we’ve published new research revealing the devastating social and financial impact Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is having on people with MS.
People with MS have been losing vital support since PIP began to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013.
The biggest change is because of the introduction of the 20 metre rule, used to assess mobility in PIP assessments.
Under DLA the measure was 50 metres. Now, if you can walk just one step over 20 metres (roughly the length of two double-decker buses) the Government say you don’t need the higher rate of mobility support.
94% of people with MS who received DLA were getting the higher rate of mobility support, but under PIP that's fallen to just 66%.
Our new report, PIP: A step too far, reveals just how much harm PIP is causing.
In a UK survey of people with MS, of those who had support taken from them in the transfer from DLA to PIP:
- 65% said the transition had a negative effect on their MS
- 39% increased their use of GP services
- 39% had to reduce spending on food
- 30% reduced spending on treatments or therapies (such as physiotherapy and counselling)
- 27% had to borrow money from family or friends.
Not only is PIP hurting people with MS, it’s also wasting already-overstretched NHS resources. We’ve calculated the NHS is spending more than an additional £1.8 million a year on GP services and £5.9 million a year on A&E services for people with MS who’ve lost support when moving to PIP.
In response to recent news that the Government plan to stop assessments for the higher rate of PIP, Genevieve Edwards, our Director of External Affairs, said:
"We welcome the news that some people with MS who get the highest rate of PIP will have only a brief review of their case. They’re unlikely to see their condition improve so they shouldn’t have to go through the full reassessment process.
"But, our research shows too many people with MS aren’t getting the level of support they need to start with – so a more sensible review process won’t help them.”
Enough is enough
"Contrary to the Government’s insistence that PIP is meant to help those with the greatest needs, the truth is it’s causing enormous harm to people with MS, with many losing their independence as a result. This senseless and unfounded rule is leading to people with the highest need facing the biggest losses, and costing our NHS at least an extra £7.7 million each year.
"The 20 metre rule was strongly opposed by charities, people with MS and medical professionals when it was first introduced. And we’re still waiting for the Government to provide any sort of evidence of how it helps those who need support the most. Enough is enough; PIP needs to change, starting with the Government scrapping the 20 metre rule."