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Headway responds to the PIP: aids and appliances descriptors consultation Main Image

Headway responds to the PIP: aids and appliances descriptors consultation

Tue 02 Feb 2016

In December 2015 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) launched a consultation into the way Personal Independence Payment (PIP) takes aids and appliances into account. They are concerned that too many people are qualifying for the benefit solely based on their use of aids and appliances, and that this goes against the principles of PIP. 

The consultation asks for views on the best way to address this issue. Five options were presented for consideration, which take different approaches including changing how the points are awarded and paying the benefit in different ways. 

You can read more on the website.

Headway response

For the past 35 years, Headway – the brain injury association has been supporting vulnerable adults to rebuild their lives and regain their independence following brain injury. We have serious concerns about the consequences of implementing the changes proposed in the consultation, namely removing people with a high level of need from this essential benefit.

As cost-saving measures appear to be at the heart of this proposal, we are concerned that reform of this nature will no longer protect the underlying principle of the benefit, which is to assess people and provide support on the basis of their disability. In addition, the unintended consequences of removing the daily living component of PIP from brain injury survivors could result in an increase in the number of people living in isolation, being less independent, and therefore being more reliant on other state-funded services.

Our concerns are exacerbated by the very small population size used to inform this study. A population of this size of only 105 claimants, – less than 0.06% of all claims, is unlikely to provide a credible indicator of a need for change or yield statistically significant results. It is important that the DWP takes more time to understand the scale of the issue, performs a more thorough assessment and develops a solution that is based on robust evidence. Following this, stakeholders can be invited to consult on well-reasoned reforms with enough evidence and information to allow them to make appropriate decisions.  

As a result, we are not satisfied that any of the five options provide a fair means of assessing entitlement to the daily living component of PIP. 

Download the full Headway response.


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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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