Review must address ‘fundamental flaws’

Sinn Fein Councillor Sandra Duffy
Sinn Fein Councillor Sandra Duffy

A statutory review of the Personal Independence Payments (PIP) welfare payment must address the fundamental flaws at the heart of the system, Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has said.

Commenting after the Department of Communities appointed Walter Rader to Chair the review, Sandra Duffy said: “I have spoken to many people who work in welfare rights and they have observed serious procedural problems that act as a barrier to people with disabilities accessing PIP.

“The forms involved are extremely complex. In some cases, assessments have been reported as degrading to those people being assessed.

“The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) of over 80 charities and organisations surveyed over 1700 PIP claimants and found that almost 90% of respondents described their assessment as ‘stressful’.

“Over 75% of respondents agreed that the stress and anxiety associated with their PIP assessment had made their condition worse.”

She added: “The flaws in the process are further demonstrated by the high levels of successful appeals so it is crucial that the review of PIP examines and addresses all of these serious issues.”