The National Autistic Society has welcomed the Government’s decision to slow down the timetable for implementation of the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
PIP is due to replace the current Disability Living Allowance benefit. Today Minister for the Disabled Esther McVey told the Commons:
“We will now undertake a significantly slower reassessment timetable to ensure we get this right. It will be phased in, starting with a controlled start area in the north-west and parts of the north-east of England from April 2013.
“We will then take new claims nationally from June 2013. From October 2013, we will start reassessing people whose DLA award is due to end, people who report a change in their condition and young people who reach the age of 16. But now the peak period of reassessments will not start until October 2015.”
Mark Lever, Chief Executive of The National Autistic Society, said:
“The Government has listened to concerns about the speed of roll out of the new benefit. It can be particularly challenging to assess adults with complex disabilities, such as autism, so we are pleased that there will be an opportunity for the Government to reflect on how the assessment for PIP is working before rolling it out more widely
“However, it is concerning that in making her statement to Parliament, Disabilities Minister Esther McVey set out very clearly the numbers of people who she believed will qualify for the new benefit.
“The Government must ensure that all assessments are conducted independently and fairly and arbitrary targets are not placed on assessors, as the process is rolled out.”