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Is personal independence payment (PIP) just designed to kick people off disability living allowance (DLA) to save money?

Yes, to a very large extent it is.  The government announced that its intention was that the introduction of personal independence payment (PIP) would reduce the cost of the benefit by 20% compared to disability living allowance (DLA). 

This could mean up to 500,000 losing their benefit when they are assessed for PIP.

The change in the assessment system to a points based one makes it very much easier to manipulate the number of people who qualify simply by altering the points awarded for different descriptors, removing whole activities or raising the points threshold for eligibility. 

The DWP have had a great deal of practice at doing this for employment and support allowance, making the criteria harder and harder to meet in order to reduce the cost of the benefit under the guise of making it ‘fairer’.