PIP is Iain Duncan Smith’s replacement for Disability Living Allowance, the benefit paid to many disabled people to meet costs associated with mobility or care. The new system launched for new claims in April last year and means sick and disabled people will be forced to attend demeaning and stressful assessments carried out by the notorious Atos and bungling Capita. The purpose of these assessments is to strip benefits from a fifth of disabled people.
335,000 people have claimed the new benefit since it began last year, but appallingly only just over 80,000 have had a decision made on their claim. Some people have been waiting for months. In August last year 95,500 people had claimed Personal Independence Payments meaning that the wait for some has been around eight months and counting.
For people on low incomes this wait will be devastating. Many PIP claimants will be newly disabled, or will have faced an existing health condition becoming significantly worse. Some will simply not have the money to pay for care or mobility until the DWP can get their act together. This delay will mean people trapped in their homes, or going without vital care at a time in their lives when they’ve really got better fucking things to be dealing with.
Atos recently pulled out of similar assessments for out of work sickness and disability assessments and know only too well that most medical professionals are far to ethical to involve themselves in grubby benefit tests that harm people’s health. It is possible that much of the shambles is down to a failure to recruit enough healthcare professionals who have no desire to be part of Iain Duncan Smith’s horrifying attempt at destroying disabled people’s lives.
Whatever the cause the disaster that PIP has become shows just how much the safety net of the welfare state is being swept away by a combination of callousness and incompetence. If you become sick or disabled, and need the help you’ve already paid for to live an independent life, then expect to strung along for months and treated like dirt by the DWP.
To download the latest statistics go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-official-statistics-june-2014
Thanks to Richard Cole for the pic.
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