100,000 disabled people in North West lose out in transfer from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

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19 Dec 2019
Margaret Greenwood MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has called on the government to take urgent action to overhaul the way that assessments are carried out for the Personal Independent Payment (PIP) for disabled.

Government statistics just published showed that nearly half of people (46%) in the UK claiming an older benefit, Disability Living Allowance, lost out when reassessed for PIP since 2013 when the introduction of PIP began.

In Wirral West over 880 of 1,915 people receiving DLA who were reassessed for PIP saw their support either decreased or stopped altogether.

In the North West as a whole around 100,000 of around 210,000 people reassessed saw their level of support decrease or stop altogether; this represents 47% of those disabled people who were reassessed.

PIP is a form of social security support that is intended to help disabled people meet the extra costs they are likely to face as a result of their disability.

That support is vital as the total number of people living in poverty in families where someone is disabled is 5.5 million according to the latest figures, an increase of around 28% since 2010.

The introduction of PIP has been extremely controversial and around three-quarters of cases that go to appeal are found in favour of the claimant.

In January 2019 the Office for Budget Responsibility highlighted that the introduction of PIP was actually projected to cost more than the system it was replacing.

The government has also been forced to backtrack and carry out a series of reviews to identify disabled people who were wrongly denied support as a result of the way that the criteria for PIP were designed. In the majority of those cases, the government only acted following a legal challenge.

Margaret Greenwood MP commented:

“It is truly shocking that over the last six years around 100,000 disabled people in the North West saw their level of support decrease or stop altogether; that is almost half of every disabled person who had to go through the reassessment process.

“It is clear that the system of assessments for PIP is failing disabled people. Many people are assessed by someone who does not have expertise in their particular condition and the assessments are often inaccurate.

“The government has been forced repeatedly to change the criteria for PIP following legal challenges. Disabled people should not be forced to fight through the courts for the support they should be entitled to, nor should they have to endure the stress of lengthy appeals.

“Instead of addressing the problems with assessments that are failing disabled people, the government has awarded private companies extended contracts worth over £600 million. 

“The government should bring assessments back in house and ensure that they are personalised and fully reflect the challenges that disabled people face.”

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