Personal Independence Payments

Too many people experience sickness and disability are having their lives made worse by the punitive assessments used when claiming Personal Independence Payments.

The Disability Benefits Consortium recently published a survey showing that eight in every 10 of those facing PIP assessments find it makes their health worse, and two thirds feel their claim was poorly represented by the assessor. These survey results are an indictment of the harsh assessments, and the miserable effect they are having on people in our area and across the country who are trying to access much needed support.

There are clearly long-term issues with the PIP assessment process as a whole. Over a quarter of all assessments are challenged and referred for mandatory reconsideration, with the majority of the decisions being changed. Some 65 per cent of tribunal appeals end with a ruling against the government. The assessments should be right the first time and the statistics show the system is failing.

Work Capability and PIP assessments should be abolished and replaced with a personalised, holistic assessment process that provides each individual with a tailored plan, building on their strengths and addressing barriers. I stood on a manifesto at the last General Election which pledged to bring this into effect.

I hope that the Government reads the Disability Benefits Consortium’s report and their recommendations, and works with them to make improvements to PIP.