CAS has recently responded to a consultation by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) on aids and appliances and the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Under the current system of eligibility for PIP, claimants can be awarded points if they use aids or appliances to carry out one or more of the daily living activities. The DWP is consulting on changes to this approach, including lower payments for claimants who score all of their points from aids and appliances, a new condition of entitlement that claimants must score some points from a descriptor that does not relate to aids and appliances, and halving the number of points awarded from 2 to 1 for the use of aids and appliances.
CAS does not agree that any change should be made to the way aids and appliances are currently taking into account when determining entitlement to the daily living component of PIP. We are concerned that all the options in the Consultation Paper would remove crucial support for disabled people in Scotland. Further, the small sample of cases referred to in the Consultation Paper is insufficient evidence of a problem with the current approach to aids and appliances.
We do not believe that such a significant change should be made to the PIP eligibility criteria when the benefit is still in its infancy and the roll-out of PIP is still ongoing. At this stage the focus should be on addressing issues with the current PIP assessment process, which have caused significant distress for many disabled people in Scotland. Further, it is inappropriate for such policy changes to be made when powers over PIP are due to be devolved to Scotland.