Roger's Rants - Part 15
Many of our clients are long term sick and disabled and need to claim benefits. A claimant submits a claim for PIP (Personal independence Payments) or ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) and in most cases they are required to attend a medical assessment conducted by health professionals employed by the company that holds the contract with the government, Capita.
Following these assessments the client is either awarded or not awarded the benefit. If a patient disagrees with the decision then the only option that they have is to appeal.
In order for an appeal to successful they need to provide evidence that the decision is not correct. If they cannot provide this then their appeal chances are greatly reduced. Currently 66% of all PIP appeals are succeeding which means that a significant number of the decisions being made are not correct.
It is with dismay that we learn that local GP’s in Wyre Forest have taken the decision to refuse to provide letters in support of the health conditions. By refusing to help them they are forcing clients to accept an incorrect decision and live on far less money than they are entitled to.
They have stated that they will not provide letters unless required to by the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) but DWP will not ask for evidence as they believe that the decision that they have made is correct so have no reason to do so.
This decision is likely to have a significant impact on those will mental health problems and learning difficulties who are unable to represent themselves in order to be successful with a claim.
Whilst it is clear that this is making more work for the doctors it is their patient who are suffering not the government who have made these rules. What is disappointing is that the doctors have made this decision without fully understanding the problem and the impact that it will have on their patients. The doctors should be complaining to their national bodies rather than penalising their patients.
We have written to the doctors asking them to reconsider this policy