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Michael Gibson, 36, said his Parkinson’s symptoms were made much worse as he was being assessed for personal independence payments [Image: PA].

As recently as Tuesday (September 12), This Writer was talking about the bad old days of disability benefit assessment to an acquaintance.

I referred to the infamous incident in which a claimant who happened to be an amputee was asked how long it would be until their limb grew back.

I said: “Thank goodness that doesn’t happen any more!”

How wrong I was.

The following happened to – of all people – a TV producer.

Now, you might think somebody working in television would have all the money they need in any case, but it turns out not to be the case.

Besides, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was intended to provide extra help for people with disabilities and long-term conditions to get on with their lives, and we were all told that the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) served the same purpose.

Clearly, that isn’t the case, because Mr Gibson showed a clear need for a mobility car, and his assessors took it away.

PIP is clearly a step backwards and I would urge any future Labour government to scrap it.

It isn’t intended to help the disabled; it seems clear that it is about harming them instead.

Michael Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease when he was just 18.

But despite Parkinson’s being a serious, progressive neurological illness with no known cure, the 36-year-old from Chorley says assessors who were deciding whether he could keep his mobility car asked him when his condition would clear up.

TV producer Michael says he relies on his mobility car to get to work at MediaCity in Salford because he cannot manage the 30-minute train and 20-minute tram journey because of his condition. Parkinson’s can affect movement and can leave him stiff and struggling to walk.

When his wife was on maternity leave, he was reassessed from the old Disability Living Allowance to the new Personal Independent Payments and was told he would lose his car.

Mr Gibson said he had a “terrible” experience with his PIP assessors, adding: “At one point I was asked how long would I have Parkinson’s for, and another assessor told me that I wouldn’t be eligible before she’d even started the assessment.

“Assessors are determining people’s futures with very little or no knowledge of the conditions people are living with.”

Source: Disability assessors asked: ‘how long will you have Parkinson’s for?’ – The i newspaper online iNews

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