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A cartoonist’s view of government sickness and disability assessments.

This is a bad move – and not just because it would merge the assessment systems of benefits that have different purposes.

It’s bad because the eligibility assessments for Employment and Support Allowance/Universal Credit and for Personal Independence Payment are simply not fit for purpose.

Those of us on the sharp end of the system have been saying this for years.

You can tell that the assessment system – including the way ministers have tampered with it to make it harder to appeal against wrong decisions – is bad simply by checking the huge number of appeals (once people are finally able to lodge them) that succeed.

But the Conservative government won’t listen.

The government has confirmed that it is pushing ahead with plans to test how it might be able to merge two disability benefit assessments into one, despite comments from a minister that appeared to suggest that no such plans were being discussed.

The plans were originally sketched out by work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd at a high-profile speech in April.

Rudd had said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) would test introducing just one assessment to decide eligibility for both employment and support allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment (PIP).

Many disabled campaigners have warned against merging the assessments for ESA and PIP into one single assessment.

One disabled activist, Lisa Egan, has launched a parliamentary petition – which has nearly 7,000 signatures – calling on ministers to abandon their plans for a joint assessment because PIP and ESA are “different benefits with different purposes” and “have very different eligibility criteria”.

[She said:] “You would have thought they’d learned from universal credit that merging unrelated benefits doesn’t work.”

Source: DWP confirms single assessment plans, despite Tomlinson confusion

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