Today the National Audit Office (NAO) published a report on the early progress of the Department for Work and Pensions’ new benefit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Commenting on the NAO’s key findings, representatives of the Disability Benefits Consortium, a national coalition of over 50 different charities, have said:
Claire Nurden of the MS Society and Co-Chair of the DBC, said:
“The NAO’s report confirms what people across the country have been telling the DBC – that the Government failed to properly consider the impact its reforms would have on disabled people. This has resulted in unexpected costs and extreme financial hardship for those affected.
“In our experience, many disabled people are left waiting more than six months without any payment. It is unacceptable that some people with terminal illnesses are left waiting for a month before they get their allowance – almost three times longer than the DWP’s initial target of 10 days.
“It is nonsensical to press on with the roll-out of PIP before the system is fit for purpose. The government must urgently halt the reassessment of DLA claimants to reduce pressure on the system and put plans in place to support those enduring delays to their claim.
“The government could also save vital time and money by making better use of additional evidence that already exists about individual claimants, such as reports from specialists or care workers. Many disabled people, such as those who are proven to have very serious impairments, long-term and degenerative conditions, simply do not need to undergo a full and rigorous reassessment for PIP.”
Rosanna Singler of Leonard Cheshire Disability and Co-Chair of the DBC, said:
“No one chooses to have a disability – we need to change the system so that people get the money they need promptly.
“The delays are leaving many disabled people in financial turmoil. As DBC members we have been inundated with calls and emails from individuals who have been left isolated and unable to access the support they need, like transport to hospital appointments, wheelchairs or help around the home. Crucially, many tell us that the delay in accessing PIP is preventing them, their carers and families accessing the other benefits they desperately need, like Carers Allowance and the Blue Badge.”
For further information please contact:
Natalia Kannas on 020 3242 0389, email@example.com
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About the Disability Benefits Consortium:
The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is a national coalition of over 50 different charities and other organisations committed to working towards a fair benefits system. Using our combined knowledge, experience and direct contact with disabled individuals and carers, we seek to ensure Government policy reflects and meets the needs of all disabled people.