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Those who need benefits to survive are under attack by DWP, Lynn News letters

By Lynn News Reporter

It is very disturbing, but the problems facing jobseekers are just part of an overall assault by DWP on people who require benefit payments to survive.

PIP (Personal Independence Payment) was introduced in 2013 to replace the old Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Not content with radically changing the criteria for qualification, DWP employed private companies who use paramedicals (nurses, physios or similar) to prepare reports on medical conditions very few of them are qualified to assess.

The Department for Work and Pensions.
The Department for Work and Pensions.

Many people moving from DLA to PIP find these so-called ‘health professionals’ write reports for DWP that are clearly only intended to stop their benefits. Eventually (it’s currently taking six to eight months) the claim goes through an appeal process leading to a hearing before a tribunal. Although around 70 per cent of appeals are successful, the claimant doesn’t get any money for up to a year.

The next problem they face is that even if the appeal is successful the decision, which is signed by a judge, can immediately be over-ruled by a clerk working for DWP. They simply ignore the tribunal ruling, put the claim out for reassessment and stop the benefits again.

Many PIP claimants are pensioners.

Back in March Amber Rudd promised that in future pensioners would no longer have to endure the face-to-face PIP assessments. Two months later that move has not been implemented and pensioners on awards that were not due for renewal until much later this year are suddenly finding themselves called in early for re-assessment – something is clearly wrong there.

The involvement of Sir Henry Bellingham MP and WNDiS is extremely reassuring but not all MPs and disabled support organisations are this committed.

My own MP, Liz Truss, has shown little or no desire to get involved despite lengthy correspondence over the past four years. West Norfolk Deaf Association (WNDA) are currently renting out rooms to Capita PIP, an organisation with a long-standing and well-documented history of abusing the PIP assessment process. The irony here is that one of Capita’s favourite tricks is not to award the points claimants are entitled to for hearing aids so in effect WNDA are actively working against the people they are supposed to be supporting.

The state of the benefit system is a major issue and I hope to see follow ups to this story in the future.

John Evans

Stow Bridge


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