Passing the buck

I was speaking recently to a friend, whose wife has a long-term, incurable condition, and whose original lifetime award for DLA has recently been reassessed. The outcome of her claim is that she has received a two-year award for PIP. Which means, she keeps her car meantime, and can keep working, as long as she is able. It also means that in two years, she will have to re-apply, and start jumping through a fresh set of hoops.

In two years’ time, we are supposing that a package of existing welfare benefits, including PIP, will have been devolved to the Scottish government. So, by handing out short-term awards, is Westminster simply passing the buck? All the existing, temporary awards that have recently been made are going to require reassessment – unless they are also lifetime awards – when they expire; and one result of awarding PIP even for a short time, is that no “parachute payment” (awarded when a claimant who qualified for a vehicle under the old DLA scheme loses their entitlement under PIP) is paid.

If the outcome of my reasssessment is that I lose my car, then at least I have one major comfort: When benefits are devolved, I can reapply to the Scottish Government and see what happens. Whatever their decision may be, I’d rather have decisions about my benefits entitlements taken by an independent expert – not ATOS or AWOL please – and emanating from a political administration with which I have some sympathy. Sorry to say, but I’ve never voted conservative, and I don’t think I ever will: I am just too aware of the undeclared value of “social capital” – “good” education, “privileged” up-bringing etc – to suppose that it has no effect on our democratic processes. Although, if current political developments are anything to go by, there is evidently no guarantee that even with social capital, we obtain sound governance.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress of my PIP application.

Meantime, thanks so much for listening.

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