Char­ity’s con­cern over new sys­tem

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - NEWS - BY MAU­RICE FITZ­MAU­RICE

PEO­PLE with Parkinson’s are be­ing stripped of Dis­abil­ity Liv­ing Al­lowance due to new ben­e­fits rules, a char­ity has claimed.

More than a third of all claimants in North­ern Ire­land have had their money stopped after be­ing as­sessed for the new Per­sonal In­de­pen­dence Pay­ment.

Parkinson’s UK has urged the Gov­ern­ment to al­low peo­ple with the con­di­tion and on the high­est rate of DLA to move au­to­mat­i­cally to PIP with­out the need for re­assess­ment.

The char­ity’s North­ern Ire­land cam­paigns of­fi­cer Caro­line Mcevoy said peo­ple “are go­ing through stress­ful as­sess­ments only to be turned down and then be­ing suc­cess­ful at an ap­peal”.

She added: “The flawed as­sess­ment process and mixed knowl­edge of as­ses­sors is lead­ing to wrong out­comes for peo­ple and lead­ing many to ap­peal. Parkinson’s is a com­plex, pro­gres­sive, neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tion with no cure and symp­toms that fluc­tu­ate daily.

“We know peo­ple are go­ing for as­sess­ments, be­ing turned down for PIP and many are suc­cess­ful on ap­peal.”

PIP is paid to peo­ple aged 16 to 64 to help with ex­tra costs they face due to ill health or dis­abil­ity and is grad­u­ally re­plac­ing DLA.

Wilma John­ston was di­ag­nosed with Parkinson’s in 2014 at the age of 53 and finds it dif­fi­cult to carry out ev­ery­day tasks such as dress­ing her­self, prepar­ing food, wash­ing her hair and do­ing the shop­ping. The Belfast woman ap­plied for PIP but after an as­sess­ment was turned down with no points.

She added: “I felt the de­ci­sion was based solely on how I pre­sented on the day of the in­ter­view as no ref­er­ence was made to the in­for­ma­tion on my ap­pli­ca­tion form.”

How­ever, after ap­peal she was awarded both the daily liv­ing and mo­bil­ity parts of the pay­ment.

Parkinson’s UK has called on peo­ple to sign an on­line pe­ti­tion urg­ing the Gov­ern­ment to re­form the PIP sys­tem.


AP­PEAL Caro­line Mcevoy of Parkinson’s UK char­ity

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