Fairer PIP assessments

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We are calling for fairer & more humane PIP assessments.The assessment system used to decide whether PIP benefit should be paid, is unfair, unjust & cruel.

An application for PIP ( personal independence payments) is a traumatic affair, which sees many who are obviously entitled to help, being turned down, or their benefits reduced.

Too many people are finding the assessments incredibly traumatic. The assessors are frequently poorly trained & have little, or no knowledge of the condition that the claimant suffers with. Many conditions, like Fibroymalgia, ME & Lupus are difficult to see & are therefore dismissed. Mental health difficulties are another cause for concern, with stories of assessors verbally & emotionally bullying the claimant. However, even those with serious & obvious difficulties are all too often dismissed, leading to immediate withdrawing of their benefit & nowhere to turn. The completed assessment paper, which DWP use to make their decision, is often seriously misleading. Hospital & Doctors letters, as well as other supporting evidence is frequently overlooked, or dismissed. Claimants are treated as cheats, who then have to prove their eligibility. This is wrong & can’t be allowed to continue!

We are calling for the government to relook at the entire system, which is costly & unworkable. Those in need are frequently turned down then have to face months of uncertainty while waiting for an appeal. Once an appeal date is set, claimants are often being forced to travel many miles, often by public transport, to attend the appeal, even if mobility is a problem. Once there, they are required to face a panel, including a judge & plead their case. Because a large percentage of appeals succeed, withheld benefits are back dated, costing the Government money, not saving anything. In many cases, the entire scenario has to be replayed in 2 years. Where is the sense in that, especially with those with long term disabilities?

To be treated as a scrounger, and then having to prove our innocence is extremely traumatic & unfair, which all too frequently leads to a worsening of claimants condition, with suicide being considered in many cases, including my own!

Due to the high instance of wrongly worded evidence given by assessors, we are asking that all PIP ( & similar) assessments are openly recorded, with one of two copies being given to the claimant immediately. This will reduce many arguments & misrepresentations about what was said & will prevent much of the bullying that currently exists. It will also make any appeals easier to challenge.

We are demanding that all evidence put to the DWP be taken into consideration. It’s wrong that it can be ignored, on a whim.

Assessors need to be better trained, with everyone having someone who is knowledgeable about the claimants condition. How can you expect someone, with little experience to accurately judge such life changing decisions?

The hardship & stress caused by these assessments is widespread. Picking on the vulnerable is tantamount to bullying!

This entire system relies almost entirely on the word of one assessor, unless an appeal is needed. Personal opinion should have no place in such an important decision, yet frequently does. This needs to be changed!

This current system rarely eliminates cheats, professional scroungers know how to work it. It’s ordinary, ill, often frail, vulnerable people who are left without their rightful entitlement.  This can’t be allowed to continue. All assessors need to be accountable for wrong decisions. Currently, unless a copy of the report is requested, ( & not always easily granted), the claimant might have no idea why they were turned down & with therefore no idea what they need to challenge.

After personal experience, which saw me hospitalised with a silent heart attack due to the stress, I researched many sites & spoke to many people. Very few had a satisfactory experience, many had heart wrenching tales to tell. This needs to be redressed.

Taped assessments as standard, all evidence taken into account & assessors being more fully trained would be a start. No one should need to go through this trauma - their only crime being unable to easily prove their needs. We are not criminals! We deserve respect and consideration, not condemnation & victimisation!

We are calling for the Government to look into this, with urgency!