The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that we’ve been selected as one of the regional partners to deliver assessments for those claiming the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit, which replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in April 2013. We are very aware that the changes to the welfare system are unsettling and, whilst there is little new information we can share at the moment, we do know people will have lots of questions about the PIP process and we hope to answer these questions as soon as we can.
What is PIP and what’s our role?
PIP is an in and out of work, non-means tested, tax-free payment for disabled people of working age (16 to 64 years old), designed to provide fairer financial support to help people live independent lives. Entitlement to PIP isn’t based on a person’s disability, but the help they may need because of their condition or disability and the impact it has on their ability to live independently. It means people’s needs will be better assessed, particularly those with disabilities that aren’t physical. They can spend the money as they choose and their entitlement will be reassessed over time to reflect an individual’s changing needs.
We will be responsible for managing the face-to-face assessments for claimants in Scotland, North East and North West England and Southern England. Having listened to feedback from disability rights groups and those who experience our services first hand, we’ve made it a priority to provide a localised approach. Assessments will be undertaken by health professionals who are already known within their communities, with the aim of making the assessment process less daunting for those involved.
We’ll post more information about our role on the Atos Healthcare website in due course. In the meantime, you can find out more about PIP, including what happens if you’re currently getting Disability Living Allowance, by visiting Directgov or the DWP website.