Take Action:We need your help to stop the unfair PIP application

Blind and partially sighted people are being denied a fair assessment for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Unfit processes around PIP assessments and poor decision making are leading to people being refused this crucial benefit, leaving them distressed and worse off.

Help stop the unfair PIP application process by writing to your MP today.

Use our template letter link below. Just click on it. Pop in your postcode, which will identify your MP . Pop in your details and send. It's as easy as that. I have just done it and it takes just a few seconds.

Please keep the discussion going by posting any response you get from your MPs.

Here is the link http://rnibenews.org.uk/c/16l373yz8UcG2B6IQJ4F2EBe

Comments (2)

-InTheWorldOfTheBlind-'s picture

Reply to Teresa Moderator by -InTheWorldOfTheBlind-

I remember the time before last that I had to submit for a PIP assesment. The examiner asked me about my eyes and I told him that I had retinopathy but that I was getting laser retinopathy surgery which should halt the progress of the rogue blood cells in my eye but would cause me to lose some peripheral vision. He then measured my normal vision and peripheral vision.

He concluded that my peripheral vision was fine and that the corrective surgery would improve my vision.

Neatly jamming together the (wrong) conclusion about the positive effects of the laser surgery (it would merely halt the damage, not reverse it) and my peripheral vision before surgery (which, of course, would be less after surgery) he concluded that my vision wasn't impaired enough for me to claim PIP.

This man was supposedly a medical professional so I can't conclude that he would be ignorant and so conclude that he was being less than honest.

I should have protested at the time but I was too stunned by the cheek of it.

The next time I applied for PIP I had had further surgery and had a supporting oil in my eye. This made it almost impossible to deny my sight impairment. I had also had some advice on filling in the forms, but I think what may have clinched it was when I walked in for the interview and fell down the side of the ramp they'd put in for wheelchairs but hadn't thought to include white or yellow markings or a handrail.

Teresa Moderator's picture

Reply to -InTheWorldOfTheBlind- by Teresa Moderator

A Connect member has received a positive response to the letter she sent her MP; and has asked us to post it here:

Thank you for contacting me recently about problems with the Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

I share your concern about the current PIP assessment process and I agree that the current system is unfair and unfit for purpose. Instead of supporting people, the PIP assessment process is dehumanising, inaccurate and worsens existing conditions. Furthermore, I am aware that poor decision making has led to some blind and partially sighted people losing vital financial support.

As you may be aware, an independent review of PIP reported that claimants lacked confidence in the assessments and voiced concern about the ability of health professionals to accurately record what had been said in face-to-face assessment. The Government has said it will accept these findings, however I am concerned that the report recommendations on improving transparency, trust and timely assurance, have not been accepted in full.

The Commons' Work and Pensions Select Committee also recently published a report on the PIP and Employment Support Assessment (ESA) process. The Committee has called for the Government to restore confidence in the PIP and ESA process, warning that there is a pervasive culture of mistrust which has exacerbated claimant anxiety. This damning evidence illustrates that the assessment process is not fit for purpose and getting worse, yet the Government refuses to act.

It has also been revealed that the Government spent £225 million on private assessment contractors in the last year, an increase of £40 million. I believe we must end the privatisation of assessments, as the Government is effectively rewarding failure.

Moving forwards, I believe we must change the culture of social security to be supportive and enabling, which is why at the 2017 General Election I pledged to scrap PIP and Work Capability assessments.

Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue. I can assure you I will continue to argue for personalised and holistic assessments, which provide individuals with a tailored plan, which builds on their strengths and addresses barriers they face.

This comment has been edited by the moderator