Liberal Democrats secure improvements to disability assessment measures – Jo

Liberal Democrats have secured improvements to the way disabled people will be assessed for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) announced today by the Coalition Government.

The move follows concerns that some people, who can only walk short distances, would have failed to qualify for the higher rate PIP which is due to be introduced in April.

But following concerns raised by Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd and Baroness Celia Thomas the Coalition Government has now amended the definition to include people who can only walk short distances, infrequently and in great pain.

This effectively means people who were anxious about losing their Motability vehicles in the future can now rest easy.

Commenting, Co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Work and Pension, Greg Mulholland said:

“These changes, fought for by Liberal Democrats in Parliament, will bring clarity and peace of mind to thousands of disabled people and deliver the right support for people who need it most.

“This adds to other Liberal Democrat victories on PIP, including our call to ensure the Motability component remains for those living in residential care, which was accepted by the Government.

“Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government are delivering a fairer society to ensure those with disabilities are protected and receive the support they need.”

More information

From April 8, 2013 the Government is introducing a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for eligible working age people aged 16 to 64.

Under the scheme, people who can only walk very short distances – up to 20 metres – are guaranteed the higher rate of payment, while those able to walk between 20 and 50 metres will receive it if they were not “reasonably” able to do so. Following concerns from Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd and peer Baroness (Celia) Thomas of Winchester the Government has now clarified what “reasonably” means. The terms “repeatedly, reliably, safely and in a timely manner” will now appear in the assessment, meaning those only able to walk a short distance, infrequently and in great pain, will qualify for the higher rate of payment. Details can be found on the DWP website

Personal Independence Payment is based on an assessment of individual need. The new assessment will focus on an individual’s ability to carry out a range of key activities necessary to everyday life. Information will be gathered from the individual, as well as healthcare and other professionals who work with and support them. Most people will also be asked to a face to face consultation with a trained independent assessor as part of the claim process.

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