National AIDS Trust report: PIP and HIV

It is time to look again at Personal Independence Payment (PIP), finds a July 2017 report by the National AIDS Trust (pdf). PIP assessment “is not fairly or accurately capturing some of the key barriers to participation and independence experienced by people living with HIV.”

The report finds:

  1. People living with HIV are less likely to receive PIP than the overall population of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)  claimants. Those who are successful are less likely to receive an increase in their rate of benefit when moving from DLA to PIP, and more likely to receive a decrease in their rate of benefit when moving from DLA to PIP, than the overall DLA population
  2. PIP descriptors are proxies for a basic existence and not for barriers to participation or the extra costs associated with an active, independent life. This is an atomistic view of the individual, without reference to the social determinants of their participation, such as access to personal networks, ability to engage in social activities, and availability of formal
    and informal forms of support
  3. There have been two independent reviews of the PIP assessment, but the remit of both was strictly limited to implementation of the existing rules. The PIP criteria have not been subject to review since they were first developed.
  4. The PIP assessment includes important safeguards for people who experience fluctuation in their health, a concern for many people living with HIV. However, the way these rules are applied through guidance may limit
    their usefulness.
  5. The PIP assessment is a source of stress for many people living with HIV who need significant support from specialised advice services to navigate the process. Current approaches to gathering and weighing alternative sources of evidence are undermining trust in the assessment.

Read the full report (pdf).