Yes, to a very large extent it is. The government announced that its intention was that the introduction of PIP would reduce the cost of the benefit by 20% compared to DLA. This has not materialised and an Office of Budget Responsibility report in January 2019 estimated that the replacement of DLA with PIP has added between 15-20% to the overall welfare bill.
However, thousands of DLA claimants have seen their level of benefit reduce when they have been assessed for PIP. By October 2018, of the 1.2 million DLA claimants assessed for PIP, 47% had received a lower level of award or no award. In contrast, 39% of people had seen their benefit increase.
Loss or reduction of award can have significant impacts on people’s quality of life. For example, by March 2018, of 175,000 Motability customers assessed for PIP, around 75,000 or 43% had lost their vehicle as a result, due to the tightening in the criteria of the mobility component.
The change in the assessment system to a points based one have made 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.
Prior to PIP, the DWP had a great deal of practice at doing this for ESA, making the criteria harder and harder to meet in order to reduce the cost of the benefit under the guise of making it ‘fairer’.