Disability, Welfare reform, poverty and inequality
Third Sector Support:
Policy & legislation
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Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) are “a punishment of the poor and the ill” according to a recent Guardian article which reports lengthy delays from application to payment.

The benefit, which replaced Disability Living Allowance for new claimants, was introduced in June 2013, however, by December 2013, according to figures published by the Government, over 80% of PIP claims had still not been processed and only 48,300 decisions had been made from 220,300 applications.

Of those which had been made for those not claiming under the special rules, only 37% had been successful – just 12,654 people. The huge backlog is causing distress and hardship for tens of thousands of people – some have died while waiting according to Macmillan Cancer Trust.

Worryingly, while they wait for their PIP award, they cannot claim other passported benefits such as carers allowance, severe disability premium bus passes or taxi cards.  Many have given up work due to their condition and are struggling with the cost of getting to hospital appointments.

While payments to terminally ill people with less than six months to live are dealt with under special rules and paid out more quickly, not all people know, or want to know when they will die.

Atos, the organisation responsible for administering the controversial Work Capability Assessments for Employment Support allowance, won part of the contract to administer the benefit, a decision which has been questioned by the chair of the Public Accounts Committee which found that Atos had “deliberately misled” the DWP in its tender over how quickly it could conduct assessments and process claims.  Capita, the other organisation responsible for the administration of PIPs also comes in for criticism.  The benefit “costs nearly three and a half times more to administer” and takes twice as long to process than DLA.

The rollout of the benefit to existing DLA claimants has been delayed, but those whose DLA claim runs out, are required to claim the new benefit, potentially adding to the backlog.

Source: The Guardian

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