Office closure due to Covid 19 Coronavirus
This office will be closed from 3:00pm, Wednesday 18th March 2020 until further notice
Advice is still available by the following methods -
Telephone Advice - call 03444 111 444. Lines open 10:00 am till 4:00 pm
(this will cost the same as calling any 01 or 02 number)
If you require a Foodbank voucher, please call 01562 60194 - This is strictly for Foodbank Vouchers only!
We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
The Flaws of PIP: The Government Review Is In
As you may have seen from our campaigns page, February looked at Personal Independence Payment. Benefits is our biggest enquiry area, and PIP is the most queried. This usually relates to being turned down and needing assistance appealing. This includes appealing after a face-to-face assessment, which many clients have said they felt to be ‘inaccurate’ and that they felt the assessor was either rushing or not paying due attention.
We also found that due to recent changes/updates on the PIP descriptors, clients with mental health problems will score less points and therefore may not be able to successfully claim. We had a client who despite being housebound was not eligible for a home visit assessment and her appeals were all rejected. It is likely she will then have to claim ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) which has work capability assessments. If she does not meet the requirements of the assessment, she will be found ‘fit for work’ and told to apply for JSA (Job Seekers Allowance). We have seen many clients very distraught and stressed at this possibility. One client even told me he will contemplate suicide.
Ahead of the independent PIP review, we submitted to local MP Mark Garnier our clients’ experiences and also expressed concern at GPs no longer providing evidence (the DWP will contact them instead). We also submitted our evidence to local bureaux who will collate the county’s evidence and case studies to submit for a bigger impact.
The government review admitted that PIP ‘requires a further range of actions to improve the use of evidence; to strengthen transparency; to evidence and deliver consistent outcomes’. The Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work responded ‘we will respond to the recommendations in due course’.
Citizens Advice have recently released their response to this, with Gillian Guy (CEO) saying:
‘It’s good to see the review recognises the need to improve the system around additional evidence which people can submit when they apply for PIP.’ […]It’s vital the government pays close attention to the issues highlighted by this review and takes meaningful action to tackle the ongoing flaws with the PIP process which stop people getting the help they need to live their lives.”
So here’s to hoping we see changes – and soon. If you have been turned down by PIP or received PIP but had a poor experience, let us know – email@example.com
For advice, please call 03444 111 444, or below is a helpful advice page on what to do if you’ve been turned down:
Citizens Advice response: