PIP reviews for sickest must end: MLA

Mark H Durkan.
Mark H Durkan.

Two years to the week since the old Disability Living Allowance (DLA) regime was replaced by Personal Independent Payments (PIP) Foyle MLA Mark H. Durkan has vowed to continue to challenge what he describes as a “cruel system”.

PIP was first introduced in the North from June 20, 2016, but has been roundly criticised over controversial rolling reviews of claimants suffer ing serious ill health.

After the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) this week announced that from this summer people from England and Wales suffering from the most severe, life-long conditions will no longer have to attend regular PIP reviews, the SDLP health spokesman said the Department for Communities (DfC) must now clarify when these new rules will be implemented in the North.

He said: “Though this change is a step in the right direction, it is frustrating that this Tory Government will only make such changes after intense pressure is exerted on them, rather than implementing fair legalisation that protects, not punishes, in the first instance

“In light of this announcement, my colleague and SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon has written to DfC to ask for a full list of what medical conditions this light touch review will apply to, what exactly this light touch review means for claimants and when exactly it comes into effect here in Northern Ireland.”

He said the system as it stands is unfit for purpose.

“The SDLP will continue to challenge this cruel system that’s sole intent is seemingly to make life harder for claimants, rather than offering financial assistance set to alleviate stress and help those living with disabilities to live as full a life as possible.”