On the 2nd of August the Government announced the independent providers for the new assessment for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The providers have been appointed on a regional basis to help ensure a quality service is delivered in a way that best meets local needs.
The PIP assessment competition has now been completed for Great Britain and the preferred bidders for the Scottish area is Atos Healthcare.
PIP is part of the Government’s welfare reform agenda and will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age (16 to 64) from 8 April 2013. The new benefit will better reflect today’s understanding of disability which has changed a lot in the two decades since DLA was introduced.
A core feature of PIP will be a new assessment of individual needs by a trained Health Professional. These face-to-face assessments are meant to ensure that, unlike in DLA, disabled people will be able to have a detailed discussion about how their impairment affects their everyday lives – rather than having to self-assess themselves though a complicated claim form.
However the work of ATOS in assessing people claiming Employment Support Allowance has sparked lots of protests.
Ian Hood, Coordinator of the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland said, "It is very worrying that ATOS has secured this contract. Many applicants for ESA were turned down by ATOS assessors only to succeed on appeal. If the same thing happens here it will cause untold stress for many vulnerable people and their families."