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13 December 2012
Today, the Government published the regulations for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) that will begin to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from spring 2013.
Fazilet Hadi, Director of Inclusive Society at RNIB, said:
“We welcome some significant changes to the PIP assessment criteria laid in Parliament today, but have serious concerns about how the daily living component will be interpreted.
"The changes to the mobility component are a great campaign success for RNIB. We have been pressing the Government to recognise the use of a white cane on a par with using a guide dog as an aid to getting around. This means that people currently on the higher rate of DLA should now get the enhanced mobility rate on PIP. Thousands of blind and partially sighted campaigners have worked hard with us to achieve this.
"However, the daily living component, which includes communicating and reading, is much less clear-cut and more worrying for partially sighted people.
"There is a risk that some partially sighted people who are currently on the lower rate care component on DLA will not qualify for the standard daily living rate under PIP - potentially losing out on more than £1,000 per year. Severely visually impaired people should qualify for at the least standard rate of PIP in this category.
"RNIB is calling for the Government to clarify how the reading criteria will be applied to partially sighted people who might be able to read text in the home by using technology, but cannot read fixed signs outside the home."