Robert Donaldson, 66, says he has been unfairly treated by benefits assessors [Image: Daily Record].

Stories like that of Robert Donaldson are now so commonplace they are part of the furniture in modern Britain.

But that doesn’t mean they are acceptable.

The Conservative Party, in government, has always claimed that its benefit assessment systems – whether for IB, its replacement ESA, DLA or its replacement PIP – take into consideration the health and daily needs of claimants.

That claim has always been a lie.

The initials ‘PIP’ euphemistically stand for the words ‘Personal Independence Payment’. The benefit is said to be intended to allow disabled people to live independently, by covering the extra costs associated with their health conditions.

Cutting Mr Donaldson’s income by £242 clearly contradicts that!

Perhaps the benefit should be renamed ‘Starve The Disabled‘. That would be a more accurate description and the acronym – ‘STD’ – is already associated with unpleasant practices.

Perhaps the government would think twice if disabled people went around saying, “The Tories are giving me STDs”.

Here’s Mr Donaldson’s story:

An amputee pensioner with kidney failure, heart problems and hearing loss has had his benefits cut because he’s not sick enough.

Robert Donaldson has been told his £300 a week payment is being slashed to £58.

He is now frantic with worry about how he will buy food and pay his bills.

The pensioner used to receive £300 a week Disability LivingAllowance.

But that benefit is being replaced by the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and claimants have to undergo an assessment.

When deciding whether to grant benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions score people on how their disabilities affect their daily living needs and mobility.

To qualify for the basic living needs payment, wheelchair-bound Robert had to score eight to 10 points. He fell short by two points.

(Source: ‘I’m worrying about buying food’ Wheelchair-bound pensioner has benefits slashed by £242 a week)

ADDITIONAL: A commenter on the Vox Political Facebook page (and if you’re not subscribed to it, why not?) has reminded me that, of course, PIP costs more to administer than it saves, and the money goes to private contractors. Therefore the whole exercise is about giving public money to private business, by taking it away from taxpayers.

He’s right, although I’ll stick with my headline because the Tory plan is to cut the cost of benefit payment by ensuring the deaths of the claimants.

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