From today, a new disability benefit called the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) across the country.

PIP has been in place since April for disabled people living in the north west of England and making a new claim.

Disabled people can no longer make a new claim for DLA, and now have to apply for PIP instead. People who are getting DLA at the moment will start being reassessed for PIP from October. However, most people won't be contacted about PIP until after 2015.

The new benefit includes a two part claim form and, for most people, a face-to-face assessment.

Papworth Trust is working with the Government and with Atos and Capita, the two companies that are carrying out the assessments, to try and make sure that the process is as fair as possible for disabled people.

We are worried that some key issues with the PIP assessment process have still not been resolved, even though PIP is now being introduced across the country.

Papworth Trust is urging the Government to:

  • Allow 4 weeks, rather than 2 weeks, for applicants to collect medical evidence.
  • Allow applicants to record their face-to-face assessments using their own equipment, such as mobile phones or camcorders.
  • Reconsider the '20 metre rule' in the mobility criteria, which we think will exclude many people with mobility difficulties. The new rule will mean that people who can walk more than 20 metres (just over the length of a double decker bus) but need the enhanced mobility component of PIP may not receive it. As a result, these people would lose the support they need to be independent.

Papworth Trust will be monitoring people's experiences of the new benefit and the assessment process.

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