Both the UK Government’s PIP and ESA process is inherently flawed, and the whole system of disability assessments needs a complete overhaul.
According to Scottish Government data from Oct 2017, around 30,000 disabled people could lose entitlement to non-means tested disability benefits due to re-assessment to from DLA to PIP. According to DWP figures from Dec 2017, one in five claimants who had gone through mandatory reconsideration for PIP had their aware changed – meaning 20% of initial decisions were judged as wrong.
The DWP Committee inquiry into ESA and PIP assessments has received evidence citing some of the appalling experiences of claimants going through both the ESA Work Capability Assessment and PIP assessments.
The introduction of PIP to replace DLA has amounted to a cut in the welfare budget, with tighter eligibility criteria for PIP meaning that many claimants who transfer are losing out. DWP figures from Dec 2017 show that by the end of Oct 2017, of those reassessed from DLA to PIP, 47% received a lower level of award or no award.
Last year the UK Government shamefully introduced legislation to stop hundreds of thousands of people with debilitating mental health conditions, such as agoraphobia, learning disabilities, OCD and dementia from receiving higher rates of PIP. The legislation was challenged in the courts, forcing the Government to U-turn on these shameful changes.
Like with other disability benefits, the Tories are forcing disabled people to bear the brunt of the impact of austerity by slowly eroding the value of benefits.
The SNP continues to call on the UK Government to undertake a complete overhaul of the PIP assessment process, to make sure it treats people who are sick and disabled with dignity and respect.