Call for Benefits System which Treats Disabled People with Dignity

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I have a lifelong disability which impacts my day to day life substantially and places stress upon my family. I had been awarded DLA for life. In my recent PIP interview, I was treated in a way that felt degrading and abusive. I had supplied substantial amounts of medical evidence, but the assessor seemed to have limited medical knowledge, even telling me that she had never heard of proliferative diabetic retinopathy, a common complication of diabetes. I was asked to carry out potentially dangerous physical movements, and I was watched getting out of my car, going up the corridor and worst of all entering and exiting the toilet. This degrading behaviour is actually prescribed in the DWP's guidelines for assessors.

The government claims PIP should be awarded on the basis of limitations to daily activities, not a diagnosis. This seems to be a way of negating medical evidence and the responsibility of firms employed to carry out assessments to only allow properly qualified individuals to work with vulnerable people.

It is fundamentally abhorrent than in order to be provided with support and dignity, without which many families cannot subsist, vulnerable people should be asked to bend over and squat by a stranger with limited medical knowledge.

Written communications from Capita which I receivedd were intimdating. I felt as if i was being summoned to be a police station for the crime of needing support with rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, ankylosing spondylitis, proliferative diabetc retinopahy, chronic anaemia, osteoarthritis and OBS. The clear goal is to cut the money spent on disabled people, and in meeting these targets DWP has turned the disabled people themselves into human targets.

Many disabled people have reported a worsening in their symptoms caused by the stress of the new system. There have also been a number of worrying cases reported in the media: one man was asked when he had 'caught' Down's syndrome , one lady was said to be able to walk her dog when she did not in fact own a dog.

I call upon you , Prime Minister, to address this hostile environment where the most vulnerable people are treated like criminals. This demeaning process constitutes government backed bullying of disabled people. Disability assessments should

  • Treat all claimants with dignity and respect
  • Take into account medical evidence from GPs , consultants, surgeons and specialist nurses who are familiar with the claimants condition
  • Be carried out by properly qualified individuals
  • NEVER put pressure on claimants to carry out physical movements which are potentially dangerous
  • Be based on the values of providing support and dignity, not on reducing the number of claimants
  • Address the real needs of disabled people in a caring and compassionate way

The current system is putting vulnerable people at risk due to the stress it causes and requires urgent change.


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