Char­ity boss: Treat claimants with re­spect

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS -

The new ben­e­fit for dis­abled peo­ple has en­dured crit­i­cism since be­ing in­tro­duced five years ago.

The Per­sonal In­de­pen­dence Pay­ment (PIP) is in­tended to help claimants who are aged over 16 and un­der state pen­sion age with costs as­so­ci­ated with long-term ill-health or a dis­abil­ity.

Weekly pay­ments are be­tween £22.65 and £145.56 and the award is based on how the con­di­tion af­fects the in­di­vid­ual.

How­ever, the process of as­sess­ing who needs the ben­e­fit has been heav­ily crit­i­cised by a num­ber of cam­paign groups and dis­abled char­i­ties.

In Scot­land, pri­vate firm In­de­pen­dent As­sess­ment Ser­vices, for­merly Atos, is re­spon­si­ble for car­ry­ing out as­sess­ments.

The firm say their ex­pert as­ses­sors sim­ply re­port their find­ings and the Depart­ment of Work and Pen­sions make the de­ci­sion on who gets PIP.

ENABLE Scot­land di­rec­tor Jan Sav­age said: “In­cor­rect PIP de­ci­sions can leave peo­ple at a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial loss while they wait up to a year for the tri­bunal to hear their case.

“ENABLE Scot­land’s wel­fare rights ser­vice re­ceives many calls from peo­ple who have learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties who find them­selves in fi­nan­cial dif­fi­culty, so­cially iso­lated, and even with their employment at risk dur­ing this pe­riod as they strug­gle with­out the sup­port this ad­di­tional pay­ment is de­signed to pro­vide.

“It’s very im­por­tant that ev­i­dence from spe­cial­ists on claimants’ con­di­tions is con­sid­ered as well as the face-to-face as­sess­ment so that a fair and ac­cu­rate pic­ture is es­tab­lished.”

Scot­land’s new benefits agency will take re­spon­si­bil­ity for PIP by the end of 2021.

Ms Sav­age added: “When the new So­cial Se­cu­rity Scot­land agency takes over re­spon­si­bil­ity for PIP it is vi­tal peo­ple ap­ply­ing are treated with dig­nity, fair­ness and re­spect.”

ENABLE’s Jan Sav­age

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