Friday, 8 January 2016

Consultation about disability aids and appliances

Did you know that there's a consultation out about how disabled people are assessed for personal independence payment?
No?
They kept it pretty quiet and released it just before Christmas so everyone else was distracted.

Here's the link
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/personal-independence-payment-aids-and-appliances-descriptors

The DWP are trying to decide if disabled people who use aids and appliances deserve to have financial help to buy them, and if so how much. 

That's fair enough, I agree consultations are a good thing, but then you read the document.

The consultation document is horribly complicated and biased if you even manage to wade through and understand it at all.  It makes it seem like all aids and appliances which disabled people use are low cost. 
That's just not true. 

My new mobility scooter cost over £2500! 
The digital magnifiers I need to be able to read letters cost at least £500. 
The magnifiers I would like to be able to use my computer effectively cost more like £2000. 

These are not low cost and we can only contemplate buying them because we have savings.  I dread to think how low income families would cope.

The one thing that really jumps out at me is that the document says the NHS or councils fund many of the aid and appliances - that's just not true. I dread to think how many times I've been told that I should apply for PiP to fund equipment I need to buy.  The NHS and councils are cash strapped and do anything they can not to fund aids.

And remember, these are aids and appliances to help people who are disabled do normal routine tasks.  Not to do anything special. 

Mike pulled out the questions from the consultation document for me so I could actually start to answer them.  So I thought I might as well share them here.  Please consider answering them yourself if you feel as strongly as I do. 

Q1 – what are your views on the current system and its
advantages and disadvantages compared to options one,
two, three, four and five? In particular, we would welcome
comments on:
 receiving a regular, fixed monthly sum;
 budgeting on a monthly basis;
 having to save to purchase aids and appliances; and
 having no restrictions on how the benefit can be spent
but potentially lower purchasing power.

Q2 – what are your views on the advantages and
disadvantages of option one compared to the current
system and options two, three, four and five? In particular,
we would welcome comments on:
 targeting resources through a lump sum, which
would be less than the cumulative value of the
equivalent monthly payments, and whether this
should be a fixed or discretionary amount;
 the lack of passporting and exemption from the
benefit cap;
 being able to purchase aids and appliances
immediately;
 restricting what the benefit could be spent on through
the use of vouchers, but potentially increasing value
for money; and
 a periodic payment, recognising that aids and
appliances may need to be serviced or replaced.

Q3 – what are your views on the advantages and
disadvantages of option two compared to the current
system and options one, three, four and five? In particular,
we would welcome comments on:
 a lower weekly rate than the equivalent rate for those
scoring the same points but from other descriptors;
 a fixed award (as opposed to a discretionary award
outlined in option 1);
 the lack of passporting and exemption from the
benefit cap; and
 no restrictions on what the benefit can be spent on,
but potentially with lower purchasing power.

Q4 – what are your views on the advantages and
disadvantages of option three compared to the current
system and options one, two, four and five? In particular,
we would welcome comments on:
 focusing eligibility on those scoring at least some
points from descriptors other than aids and
appliances; and
 whether there should be a limit on points for aids and
appliances or restrictions on where they are scored.

Q5 – what are your views on the advantages and
disadvantages of option four compared to the current
system and options one, two, three and five? In particular,
we would welcome comments on:
 excluding eligibility for aids and appliances which are
a poor indicator of extra costs and;
 which classes and types of aids and appliances are a
good indicator of extra costs.

Q6 – what are your views on the advantages and
disadvantages of option five compared to the current
system and options one, two, three and four? In particular,
we would welcome comments on:
 focusing the benefit by halving the points awarded for
some or all daily living activities;
 a fixed payment with only a broad relationship to
actual extra costs;
 having to save to purchase aids and appliances;
budgeting on a monthly basis; and
 no restrictions on spending but potentially with lower
purchasing power.

How to respond to the consultation

34. Please send your responses to:
PIP Policy Team
Department for Work and Pensions
Ground floor, Caxton House
Tothill Street
London
SW1H 9NA

Or email to:
PIP.consultationfeedback@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

35. Please ensure your response reaches us by 5pm on 28 January 2016.

36. When responding, please state whether you are doing so as an individual or representing the views of
an organisation. If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, please make it clear who the organisation represents and, where applicable, how the views of members were assembled. We will acknowledge your response. We may contact you to follow up on your response; if you would prefer us not to do so, please let us know in your reply.

No comments:

Post a Comment