This is wonderful news …. or is it? I suppose it depends on your view of the honesty of the government and its department responsible for disability benefits.
The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) intends to record the controversial Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment as “a standard part of the process”. At least, that’s what it claims. If it happens, such a move would be great news for campaigners and disability benefit claimants
DWP also says it will make the PIP claim form more user-friendly. Not before time, if it happens.
Neither move is being made of the DWP’s own volition but because the agency has been forced onto the back foot. This followed an amazing response by claimants who answered a call for evidence by the parliamentary Work and Pensions committee.
My issue is that there is a vast difference between “intends” to record and actual action. And history shows that the DWP has made previous promises to government committees, only to break them a few months later.
Record: DLA must be held to account
One such promise was to try out issuing a warning before a first sanction is made. But the trial fell by the wayside because, it was claimed, there was not enough parliamentary time to pass new laws. A lame excuse, if ever I heard one.
What is concerning me about the DWP’s intention to record, is that it has given no indication of when it plans to make it happen. What’s more, we don’t know whether such recordings of face-to-face assessments will be restricted to official centres, or whether home visits will also be on record.
Given that intentions are not actions and no timetable has been announced, you will probably forgive my cynicism. Should parliament accept the DLA’s word? I think not!
This government and its DWP need to be held to account. Do I trust them? No, not all – but I’d be absolutely delighted to be proved wrong. It’s just that I’m not holding my breath.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.
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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.