Guide

Personal Independence Payments

Outline

PIP was introduced to replace Disability Living Allowance and, by the government's own early admission, to cut the DLA caseload and costs by 20%

DLA was originally brought in to cover the extra costs people have because of disability or sickness – for example, extra care costs and extra expenses for mobility and getting around. 

All new applicants must apply for PIP; existing DLA claimants will eventually be moved from DLA to PIP.

Problems

Two private companies, Atos and Capita, were awarded the contracts to assess and process claims for PIP – and this has been a disaster. The companies have failed to process applications, which means that sick and disabled people often have to wait months to hear anything. Polly Toynbee recently reported that “the last figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that 220,000 made PIP claims, but less than a fifth were processed”. 

The public accounts committee found that Atos’s tender document for the PIP contract was “misleading”. The tendering document claimed that the company had test centres in place with physiotherapists and hospitals for assessments. In fact, it had very few. 

Whistleblowers have told how the PIP testing programme has been hit by delays, IT problems and staff rebellion.

Links

Atos accused of misleading government over how quickly it could process claims
Guardian report on the investigation by the public accounts committee of outsourcing firm, Atos, which has been jointly tasked with rolling out PIP.

Disability Living Allowance - introduction
Government outline of DLA with links to more detailed information.

Personal independence payments are a punishment of the poor and ill
Polly Toynbee in The Guardian. PIP should be a national scandal: Iain Duncan Smith’s new system already has a huge backlog and people are dying waiting.

PIP assessments: ‘Lengthy delays and staff rebellion’ hit Capita’s PIP programme
Disability News Service report on a whistleblower’s account of delays, IT problems and staff dissatisfaction at outsourcing company testing for PIP.

What's Wrong with Personal Independence Payments?
Blog by campaigner against the government’s “war on disabled benefit claimants”.