Personal Independence Payments

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 24 October 2011.

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Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats 2:30, 24 October 2011

What recent discussions he has had with organisations representing disabled people about the face-to-face assessment process for personal independence payments.

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Officials and I have met a broad range of disability organisations in relation to our proposals for the personal independence payment. We have also set up a dedicated group specifically to involve disabled people and their organisations in the design and operation of the new PIP process.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats

Two organisations representing blind people—Action for Blind People and Blind Aid—are based in my borough. One of the concerns that has come to the fore recently is that people who are registered blind, who are clearly blind and have been so for some time, should not have to present themselves to be checked when being assessed for their disability benefits. Can the Minister confirm that, where there is a clear, settled condition, there will be no need for people to be unsettled by having to prove again what is obvious to everyone?

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Although face-to-face consultations will be an important part of the personal independence payment for most people, I have made it clear throughout all the debates that they might not be appropriate for everyone, especially when there is sufficient evidence on which to make an assessment. It is important, however, to treat everyone as an individual, because there is a coincidence of multiple disability for many individuals.