PIP failing disabled people

Response to Personal Independence Payment review highlights 65% of appeals are successful.

65% of disabled people who appeal against their PIP award are successful, highlighting a ‘deeply flawed system’.

This was one of the key points highlighted by Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance in her response to the UK Government’s second independent review of PIP.

The response also highlighted several other failings of the current system including:

• A failure to treat people with dignity and respect;
• A failure to fully explain the distinction between DLA and PIP;
• A failure to provide consistent decisions; and
• A failure to provide the right support for people with additional needs.

Ms Constance said:

“It is absolutely staggering that 65% of people who dispute their PIP award are successful in their appeal of that decision.

“Not only does that highlight a deeply flawed system, but it shows very clearly the number of people subjected to a highly stressful, often prolonged, process to get the support they need and are entitled to.

“It completely fails to treat people with the dignity and respect that, not only do they deserve, but they should have a right to expect from a system that was set up to help them.

“The unacceptably high appeal and overturn rate, the lack of information available, the confusion over different types of support available and the inconsistent decision making, all add up to a wholly unacceptable situation.

“When we have powers over disability benefits, we will put dignity and respect at the heart of everything that we do. We will reform the assessment procedures to ensure they work for service users, and are committed to working with disabled people through the consultation and beyond, to get this right.

“In the meantime, I hope that this second review will take on board the points we raise – although more importantly the views of the many disabled people who have also responded directly and indirectly to this review – and radically reform PIP to make it fit for purpose and ensure it provides the help it should do to the people who need it most.”

Notes to editors

This is the second Independent Review of how the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment is working, as required by Section 89 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012. Paul Gray (Chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee) chaired the first review, and was asked to lead the second.

The primary objective of the Review will be to assess the impact of ‘further evidence’ on coming to entitlement decisions which properly reflect claimant needs and the day-to-day functional impacts of their condition, and in what cases these may act as an alternative to face-to-face consultations. This Review will also consider how data may be better shared across the Department and with external organisations, such as the health and social care sector, to support the claim process. It will also take a broader look at PIP to understand the quality and consistency of assessments and the claimant experience at all stages of the process.

The first Independent Review of PIP in 2014 showed widespread concern about the quality and consistency of the assessment process. Some of its findings showed:
• Evidence consistently shows that claimants experience a disjointed and complicated claim process which is hard to navigate and understand.
• There is widespread concern over the quality, transparency and consistency of assessment and decision making, including:
o Deficiencies in processes for gathering further evidence.
o Inconsistency between assessors and their use of evidence for award.
o Reported unfairness of assessment to those with fluctuating conditions.
• There is strong evidence of lack of poor communication on progress of claims resulting in “inconclusive progress chasing calls” by claimants.
• There is consistent evidence of procedural deficiencies, e.g. around arrangement of appointments.

The social security consultation runs until 28 October and can be found at: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/social-security/social-security-in-Scotland


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