Join the demand for common sense overhaul of ‘humiliating’ and ‘degrading’ PIP process

Uncannily accurate: The Conservative government’s genuine policy towards PIP claimants may as well be as it appears in this cartoon from 2017.

Liz Gumbley’s experience is shocking – and all-too-common.

She suffers from a lifelong progressive illness – multiple sclerosis, which is well-known to be increasingly debilitating.

Unfortunately, her assessment for Personal Independence Payment in 2015 was carried out by a physiotherapist who had no specialist knowledge of the condition.

The interview resulted in her losing the higher daily living rate of the benefit, despite having received it for the previous 17 years under the legacy benefit, Disability Living Allowance.

Apparently the reason she no longer deserved it was that she had been seen lifting a medium-sized handbag in order to retrieve a purse.

From this, the assessor – who had no experience of MS, remember – deduced that she was able to prepare and cook a meal, and disqualified her from receiving the extra cash on the higher daily living rate of PIP.

In fact, as supporting evidence from her own physiotherapist, her MS nurse and her husband demonstrated, Ms Gumbley was at high risk of burning or cutting herself due to cognition problems which meant she had not prepared a meal in five years at the time of the assessment.

Apparently the fact she was well-nourished, well-dressed, clean and of good appearance also counted against her.

She decided not to appeal, in fear that a tribunal would cut her benefit award even further.

The cut she did endure meant she had to cut back on exercise sessions that helped her keep her mobility, and her cognition and sensory problems have also worsened.

The Tory PIP assessment process actually contributes to the worsening of the claimant’s illness.

And the statistics show that Ms Gumbley is not alone in her experience: In a survey of nearly 900 people living with MS in the UK, two thirds (65 per cent) of respondents struggled to complete the PIP application form.

More than half (55 per cent) who had a face-to-face assessment don’t believe their assessor had a good understanding of MS.

And of the respondents who saw a copy of their assessment report, six in 10 (61 per cent) don’t believe it gave an accurate reflection of how MS affects them.

Ms Gumbley is appealing for supporters to sign an open letter to whoever forms the next government, calling for common-sense changes to the PIP assessment process.

She says people need a system they can trust, and should be able to rely on support without being in constant fear of having it taken away.

The MS Society’s open letter to the next UK Government, calling on it to make common sense changes to the PIP assessment process, can be found here.

In conclusion, Ms Gumbley made this cutting observation: “Calling it Personal Independence Payment is ridiculous. They’re not helping you to be independent.

“If you go to your assessment showing you’re ‘independent’ it goes against you.”

That has to change.

Source: My humiliating and degrading battle to claim disability benefits | Metro News

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  1. Jeffrey Davies November 16, 2019 at 7:00 am - Reply

    In the beginning we had a board of doctors who took the payipati illnesses to book. Many passing these looksie overs now these retired doctors are no more in place we have very highly trained HCP whose only goal is to fail you welcome to benefits denial aktion T4 rolling along with out much of a ado. Jeff3

  2. Simon Agonistes November 16, 2019 at 9:15 am - Reply

    The problem of poorly qualified assessors who have no experience of working with the actual condition under consideration is a massive issue.

    Many conditions are variable, so a one of observation (like lifting a handbag) are not representative of the overall picture. Conditions can vary enormously from day to day yet these incompetent ‘assessors’ (for they are incompetent) take an unrepresentative ‘snap-shot.’

    I think those who are being assessed should ascertain whether the assessor has experience in their condition, for how long and what specific training they have received in that condition. If the assessor is not able to show a reasonable level of experience and knowledge in THAT condition then the person being assessed should complain and accuse the outsouse company of unprofessionalism.

    I advised an ME sufferer about this and we both wrote to the company (ATOS at the time) and they get very defensive and nervous if you do this. Make them look bad before they wreck your life, is my advice here.

    • caldy1caldy1 November 25, 2019 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      When calling ATOSIAS make sure you get trough to their complaints department.

      They will try and kid you out of this, but persist and you will find they suddenly become very sensitive over how they treat their intended victim

      And their ‘HP’s’ are rarely more than glorified nurses with the barest of medical qualifications or experience, so ask them for their qualifications before you let them anywhere near a disabled person

  3. trev November 16, 2019 at 11:02 am - Reply

    It’s a despicable way to treat sick and disabled people, one that could only be dreamt up and implemented by psychopaths.

  4. Margaret Montgomery November 16, 2019 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    PIP was introduced to “save money”
    All of a sudden there are millions and millions available to fight an election campaign!!

    • Louise November 17, 2019 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      Rubbish the benefits I got when of sick was more tan enough jog on labour u already screwed us up once.

      • Mike Sivier November 17, 2019 at 11:57 pm - Reply

        When was that – 1977?

        Nobody is going to take you seriously because you haven’t said when you claimed sickness benefits, how much you received or what they were for.

        Everybody knows the current Conservative government has made a bigger mess of the UK’s finances and services than Labour ever did.

        If you have a genuine point to make, feel free to come back and make it – but for crying out loud, try to make sense.

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