Terrible facts about the UK government’s Personal Independence Payments (PIP) crept out almost unnoticed towards the end of last month. I find the way those important figures were released was both despicable and cynical.
And that’s because the unpalatable facts were not given in the House of Commons as you might expect. Instead, they were placed in a written answer to a question from Christian Matheson, an MP of the Labour party.
Now, you might think that the question was prearranged and, while I cannot say it definitely was, it is certainly not possible for me to dismiss the suggestion. Add to that the fact that the answer was given on April 28. That was some days later than prime minister Theresa May announced plans for the snap general election. Then consider the possibility that the way the information was published was meant to bury it. The Press had bigger stories to attract their interest .
On the other hand, leaving the main election coverage to the mainstream media, I’ll concentrate on disability matters.
So, let’s look at the information supplied by Penny Mordaunt, minister for disabled people.
Mr Matheson asked what proportion of 2016 PIP cases, overturned at reconsideration or appeal, were initially assessed at zero points.
Shocking PIP admission
Replying, Ms Mordaunt shockingly admitted a quarter of claimants who won their PIP appeals in 2016 started with zero points.
She said that in 2016, a total of 34,110 PIP mandatory reconsiderations led to a higher award. Of these, 5,030 – or 15% – were decisions where the original award was zero points.
But it goes from bad to worse. This is because, out of a total of 32,070 PIP appeals that resulted in a higher award, 8,100 – or 25% – also started as zero points decisions.
What’s really terrible, really shocking, about the figures is the fact that more than 66,000 PIP assessments were overturned and that more than 13,000 had been given zero points.
It all points to a sad indictment of those original assessments, the competency of the assessors and the suitability of the two companies involved – Capita and Atos.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Diagnosed with MS in 2002, he continued to work until mobility problems made him retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective. Besides that, he is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.