Personal Independence Payments were introduced for new claimants in April this year however people currently receiving Disability Living Allowance were due to start being moved to PIP from next week as either their current award ended or they reported a change to their circumstances or needs.
Now though, the government has decided to delay this move for most people. Only people living in Wales, the East and West Midlands and East Anglia will start to be assessed for PIP. New claimants will still claim for PIP and not DLA.
Although it may be unrelated, the areas that will go ahead with assessment for existing DLA claimants are those where face to face assessments will be carried out by Capita, while Atos have the contract in most other areas. It seems likely that Atos are struggling to assess everyone that has been sent to them. Even where people have been assessed already there are delays though; one new applicant has told me that he has been waiting five months since applying and three months since being seen by Atos.
While a delay is exactly what campaigners called for more than a year ago, doing so at this stage betrays the chaos behind the rollout and it leaves many people hanging with no idea what will happen when their DLA award runs out or their needs change in the next few months. The government claims that people will continue to get DLA, but whether in practice people will continue to be paid or not remains to be seen. Those affected can have no confidence in their income, which will affect services and contracts that DLA pays for and may prevent people from securing cars or wheelchairs to enable their mobility.
For once the BBC has been paying attention and here are some media clips that explain more about what is happening.
Dame Anne Begg on Radio 4 Today Programme – 26/10/2013
Sue Marsh on Radio 4 PM – 26/10/2013
Sue Marsh on BBC News – 26/10/2013
Jane Young on BBC News – 26/10/2013