The Government is making changes to how people are assessed for the personal independence payment (PIP) after a consultation criticised the draft regulations for being unclear.
The changes mean that how someone carries out a range of activities, rather than just whether they can or not, will be considered in the PIP assessment process.
PIP will replace disability living allowance in April. People with greater mobility issues will be entitled to higher payments.
The proposed addition to the regulations now means that legally individuals will be assessed on what they can do safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a reasonable time period. Campaigners had been concerned that people deemed capable of walking more than 20 metres could receive lower payments, regardless of how they did it. They also said the regulations didn't take into account fluctuating conditions.
Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey, said: “Our intention has always been the same – we want to target support at those who need it most. We have always said that we will not just look at whether individuals can carry out activities but also the manner in which they do so.
“I know that disabled people and their representatives feel strongly that this important concept is set out in law and I am happy to do this.”
The concession was welcomed by the Sarah Lambert, head of policy at the National Autistic Society. “Benefits are a necessity for disabled people, not a luxury so the Government's concession on PIP will be welcome news to the many people with autism and other disabilities who are worried about whether they will be eligible for the new benefit,” she said.
“[This] announcement means that assessors will have to examine the context in which a person with a disability can carry out an activity.
“This will help to ensure that the system is fairer and takes better account of different aspects of the disabled person's condition.”
A draft amending regulation was published on January 31. A final regulation will be laid once the PIP regulations currently being considered by Parliament are made but before they come into force in April.