Our series of briefings ‘Voices from the Frontline’ show the reality of the impact of current welfare changes on the people of Scotland. We highlight the experiences of the thousands of clients advised by CAB in Scotland and make recommendations for change.
This briefing highlights the experiences of bureaux and clients so far in claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the UK Government’s new disability benefit which will eventually replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16-64. Both PIP and its predecessor DLA are crucial benefits for many sick and disabled people. They aim to help with the extra costs of being sick or having a disability, such as additional heating, additional travel costs, special diets or specialist equipment.
Since its introduction, new claimants have experienced significant problems in claiming PIP, particularly as a result of delays in the assessment and decision process, and they have turned to their local CAB for advice and support. The majority of the 190,000 existing DLA claimants are due to be migrated to PIP between October 2015 and October 2017.
Given the problems and delays new claimants have had to face, and the future devolution of powers over disability benefits to the Scottish Parliament, CAS has called for a halt to the continued migration of existing DLA claimants in Scotland to PIP. CAS considers that in order to get the best outcomes for Scotland’s citizens, we should not put disabled people through two benefit upheavals in a short space of time. In addition, we also believe all children (under 16 as of 6 April 2015) currently on DLA should remain on DLA until a new benefit is introduced in Scotland and not be classed a new claimant when they turn 16.