MS Society critical of Personal Independence Payment assessments

By agency reporter
January 29, 2020

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaces Disability Living Allowance, and is a benefit that is intended to help with the extra costs of having a condition like multiple sclerosis (MS). A new research report by the MS Society shows that more than half of people with MS surveyed didn’t feel their PIP assessor understood their condition.

Too often, the research finds, PIP assessors make inaccurate decisions based on ‘informal observations’ (the way people look or act during their assessment), and 67 per cent of people with MS whose assessment included these said they did not reflect how MS affects them.

In addition, 83 per cent of people with MS who appeal their PIP decision after moving from Disability Living Allowance win their case at tribunal, which the MS Sociaety says is evidence of how inappropriate the assessments are for people with MS. As a result, the report makes many detailed recommendations relating to the whole process for claiming PIP, from the application form, to the face to face assessment, to the decision making and appeals.

Paul, whose support was reduced by £100 a month after his assessment said: "With the reduced income I’ve had to do without certain things. It’s had a huge impact on my family and my wife has had to work harder to make up for it.

"Going through this has made me suffer mentally and physically. It’s made my anxiety worse and I’ve had to start taking medication and going to counselling because of the added stress. I don’t think I should have to justify being ill. When my consultant tells me I have MS, I shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to prove I need support." 

The MS Society says: “PIP provides vital support to people with MS and helps pay for things such as adapted cars and help around the home, or for therapies that help manage the condition and symptoms.

"But too many people with MS are denied the right level of support, because of an application and assessment process that does not work for people with a fluctuating condition such as MS.

"We need a PIP process we can trust. Decisions must be backed by evidence not assumptions. And assessments should be carried out by people with good knowledge of MS.”

* The PIP fails report can be downloaded here

* MS Society


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