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Personal Independence Payment not meeting support needs of people living with HIV

Friday, July 21, 2017

People living with HIV are not getting the support they need from Personal Independence Payment (PIP), according to new research from the National AIDS Trust (NAT).[1]

PIP replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and is supposed to promote independence and participation by helping pay for the extra costs of living with a disability.[2]  

Not everyone living with HIV in the UK has benefitted equally from modern treatments - for example, long-term survivors and people diagnosed late – and some will have life-long health problems as a result of HIV.  

At the time that DLA was abolished, 10% of all people accessing HIV care in the UK needed support from the benefit. 

Compared to people with other disabilities, though, people living with HIV who had DLA awards are less likely to be successful in claiming the new benefit.[3]  Those who are successful in moving from DLA to PIP are more likely to receive a decrease in financial support with their new benefit, than people with other conditions.[4]

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT, says:

“The evidence so far is that PIP is not working for people living with HIV who need extra support.

The assessment is not fit for its stated purpose, to identify the disability-related barriers to participation and independence experienced by people living with HIV.  The tick-box eligibility criteria describe only the most basic aspects of existence, such as physical capacity to consume food and bathe, without any understanding of the social context of life with a serious long-term condition.  

The two independent reviews of PIP only looked at questions of implementation – the assessment rules and criteria have not been subject to review since they were introduced in 2013.

It is not too late to improve PIP for people living with HIV: so far only around 1 in 8 DLA claimants with HIV have been through the assessment.[5]  It is time to look again at PIP.”

Case studies living with HIV who have encountered problems with PIP assessment may be available for interview. Please contact Senior Communications Officer Charlie Alderwick. Email:  |  Tel: 020 7814 6767  |  Mobile (out of hours press enquiries): 07947 725 299.

Notes to editor

  1. National AIDS Trust is launching a new research report on Personal Independence Payment, “PIP and HIV” (21st July 2017).
  2. “We propose to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with a new cash benefit – Personal Independence Payment – which will contribute to the extra costs of overcoming the barriers faced by disabled people to lead full and active lives.” - DWP. 2010. Public consultation. Disability Living Allowance reform 
  3. Up to October 2016, 1,000 people living with HIV had been re-assessed from DLA under the new PIP rules. 63% were found eligible for PIP. For all disability categories, 73% of DLA claimants were successful in their PIP reassessment. (DWP. Personal Independence Payment: Official Statistics Quarterly Data to October 2016 Published: 14 December 2016.  
  4. Up to October 2016, 43% DLA claimants with HIV found eligible for PIP at re-assessment were awarded a lower rate of support than they had been receiving under DLA (compared to 30% of successful claims across all conditions).  
  5. At the start of the PIP roll-out, 7,920 people living with HIV were in receipt of DLA.  As of October 2016, only 1,000 of this group had been through the PIP assessment.  DWP official statistics accessed from  

About NAT

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.

Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.  

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