The Government has accepted some recommendations for reforming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – but is it enough? Richard Holmes, RNIB’s Parliamentary and Public Affairs Manager, isn’t so sure.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit which helps with some of the extra costs related to disability if you're aged 16 to 64. PIP is a crucial benefit, but the current assessment and decision making process is not working for people with sight loss.
Richard Holmes believes the Government’s response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s recent recommendations after a major review has not addressed a number of major issues.
“It’s positive that they have agreed that face-to-face assessments will be recorded and to take responsibility for the process. They have also agreed that there will be guidance made available in other formats,” says Richard.
“Unfortunately, the application form itself isn’t going to be made accessible. So from the start, a blind or partially sighted person is reliant on somebody else to write down their words. There also isn’t sufficient reference to the need for assessors to have awareness or personal experience of sight loss.”
RNIB will continue to campaign for change. “We will have regular discussions with Department of Work and Pensions officials and MPs to push for the form to be made accessible, and for fairer decision making,” says Richard.
Leigh Pick and Claire Lawrence have both experienced difficulties with PIP.