PIP assessments Tory ‘shame and punishment’

Sinn Fein councillor Sandra Duffy.
Sinn Fein councillor Sandra Duffy.

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has claimed Personal Independence Payments (PIP) assessment procedures reflect a Tory culture of “shame and punishment” towards welfare recipients.

Councillor Duffy said Sinn Fein elected representatives are receiving regular updates and observations “about serious procedural problems.”

She claimed: “The forms involved are extremely and deliberately complex. The feedback we are getting is that some assessments are degrading and ridiculous in their nature. In the Disability Benefits Consortium of over 80 charities and organisations surveyed, over 1,700 PIP claimants and found that almost 90% of respondents described their assessment as ‘stressful.’ This is unacceptable and Sinn Féin will be seeking a meeting with Capita to demand immediate changes to how PIP recipients are treated.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities said recently that Capita “had to conform to a rigorous set of quality standards,” adding: “PIP assessments are carried out by an independent health professional. Each disability assessor receives extensive training in line with department guidelines before they undertake PIP assessments. These professions include nursing, physiotherapy, paramedic as well as occupational therapy.”

One third of local people reassessed for PIPby the end of July had had their disability benefit claim rejected.