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Government taken to court over PIP benefits

a person in a wheelchair going towards a table
a person in a wheelchair going towards a table Image credit: lindseymedicalsupply.com

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) supports people with disabilities by boosting their bank accounts between £23 and £150 a week, but comes with a ruthless application process.

Most applicants have to attend a gruelling face-to-face assessment, or will do once lockdown eases, which in some parts of the country has seen a poor successful rate.

Out of 12,360 claims in Wrexham only 65 per cent were told they qualified for PIP.

Unhappy with the outcome over 1,000 disabled people took the Government to tribunal, two-thirds won their case.

Louise Rubin from Scope criticised the system, she told Leader Live: “Disabled people have told us about specific failures in their PIP assessment, such as their views and experiences not being listened to, information recorded inaccurately, the advice and views of medical experts ignored and a lack of understanding, empathy or compassion from staff.

“If the DWP got more decisions right first time, fewer disabled people would go through a lengthy and stressful appeal process to get the vital support they need.”

Since 2013 there has been over four million PIP applications and at least 350,000 appeals which have been won in more than two-thirds of those cases.

But according to Michael Paul from Disability Rights UK a majority of people don’t appeal because they are concerned about losing all their benefit and “tired of the stressful and time-consuming bureaucracy” of going through the process.

A DWP spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring that people get all the support they are entitled to and in the vast majority of cases there isn’t an appeal as we make the right decision, first time.

“When someone disagrees with a decision we will, where necessary, contact them to get further information so decisions can be thoroughly reviewed and an appeal potentially avoided.”

For information on how to claim Personal Independence Payment visit Gov.uk