Charity boss: Treat claimants with respect
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