Archives for posts with tag: PIP

Govt Newspeak

Dealing with the disability benefit system can be highly stressful. 

In a major undertaking, the government announced in late January that it will review all 1.6m claims for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) – one of the benefits that supports people with a disability.

There are serious issues with the benefits applications process, and many disabled people who claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or PIP find the process very stressful. In just over two years, the British government has spent more than £100m managing reviews and appeals against their disability benefits decisions.

My new research found that people who receive disability benefits find changes to the system powerfully dehumanising. Changes since 2010 have included cuts to the financial support that people receive and the introduction of new types of benefits – the ESA and PIP – which have tighter eligibility criteria than the previous benefits. With the move to…

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A watchdog is examining the failure of two healthcare regulators to punish nurses, paramedics and physiotherapists who write dishonest benefit assessment reports.

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) is looking at concerns about the way regulators deal with complaints about nurses, physiotherapists and paramedics who carry out personal independence payment (PIP) assessments on behalf of the outsourcing giants Capita and Atos.

About 300 disabled people have come forward over the last year to tell Disability News Service (DNS) how assessors working for Atos and Capita wrote dishonest PIP assessment reports, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Many raised concerns about the apparent refusal of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to take their complaints seriously.

Now PSA has told DNS that it has begun to examine how the regulators deal with those complaints.

Among the evidence it will be considering are last week’s DNS reports on data released by DWP to campaigner John Slater under freedom of information laws, which included figures that showedthat up to 180 PIP assessors had been the subject of at least four complaints each in three-month periods in 2016.

It comes as the Commons work and pensions select committee published its findings into the assessment processes for both PIP and employment and support allowance, the out-of-work disability benefit.


Source: Watchdog begins probe into failure of regulators to punish lying PIP assessors | DisabledGo News and Blog

Disabled campaigners have welcomed a report by MPs on disability benefit assessments, which they say highlights “serious multiple failures”, but many believe it should have done more to highlight the serious “preventable harm” caused by the system.

The report by the Commons work and pensions committee concludes that there is a “pervasive culture of mistrust” around the personal independence payment (PIP) and employment and support allowance (ESA) assessment processes.

It calls for “urgent change” in the system, including the introduction of routine recording of face-to-face assessments, and says that the government’s contractors, Atos, Capita and Maximus, “have consistently failed to meet basic performance standards”.

It also says the government should send every claimant a copy of the assessment report prepared by the healthcare professional who assessed them, which it says would “introduce essential transparency into decision-making”.

And it calls for improved accessibility of the system “at every stage” and pays tribute to the thousands of claimants who shared evidence with the committee, a response which it says was “unprecedented” for a select committee inquiry.


Source: Benefit assessment report welcomed, but concern over ‘preventable harm’ failings | DisabledGo News and Blog


The Work and Pensions Select Committee received nearly 4,000 submissions – the most by a select committee inquiry – after calling for evidence on the assessments for personal independence payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

The MPs said: “We were so impressed and moved by the response we are today publishing a collection of just a few of the thousands of stories claimants shared with us.”

The report highlighted people with Down’s syndrome asked when they “caught” it, a woman reporting frequent suicidal thoughts asked why she had not yet killed herself.

Stories from claimants – released by the committee ahead of the publication of their final report on PIP and ESA assessments next week – showed relevant information was often omitted from, and fundamental errors included in, the medical assessment reports.

In September the committee asked benefit claimants to submit evidence of their experiences with the medical assessments for disability benefits PIP and ESA carried out for DWP by private contractors Capita, Atos and Maximus.

Nearly 4,000 people replied – the most ever received by a select committee inquiry, by an order of magnitude.

The committee described the accounts as “honest and often distressing” and said that they showed clear patterns.

Since 2013 there have been 170,000 PIP appeals taken to the Tribunal: Claimants won in 108,000 cases – 63%. In the same time, there have been 53,000 ESA appeals. Claimants won in 32,000 – or 60% – of those cases.

Chair of the work and pensions committee Frank Field said: “We’ve never had so many submissions from people that haven’t been organised so we’ve had over three thousand people

“I don’t think any select committee has had more voters, ordinary people writing in wanting to be part of the inquiry.

“We’re massively grateful because what they can’t see but we can see is there are common patterns of how they are all treated.”


Source: 9 shocking errors made in assessments for PIP and ESA by Capita, Atos and Maximus | DisabledGo News and Blog


A “pervasive lack of trust” in the private firms contracted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to carry out disability benefit assessments risks undermining the whole system, an influential group of MPs has warned.

An investigation into face-to-face assessments for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) by the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee received an “unprecedented” amount of responses from sick and disabled benefit claimants, with many effectively accusing assessors of lying in reports sent to the DWP.

The Committee heard from claimants who said they do not believe assessors can be trusted to record what took place during their assessments accurately, with the Committee warning of “a pervasive culture of mistrust around PIP and ESA processes, with concern about the face-to-face assessment by a health professional at its core”.

Claimants spoke about the extreme anxiety and a detrimental impact on their health caused by the assessment process, that is commonly regarded as “opaque and unfriendly” throughout.

Source: Disability benefit assessments must be recorded, says Work and Pensions Committee : Welfare Weekly


Hated Government welfare tests have unleashed a “pervasive lack of trust” in the system, MPs warn today. Contracting out assessments for Personal Independence Payments and Employment and Support Allowance fuelled victims’ agony, the Commons Work and Pensions Committee reveals.

In a 71-page report, it calls on ministers to scrap the current arrangements and take tests back in house. Chairman Frank Field said: “For the majority of claimants the assessments work adequately, but a pervasive lack of trust is undermining its entire operation. “In turn, this is translating into untenable human costs to claimants and financial costs to the public purse. No one should have any doubt the process needs urgent change.”

Since 2013, 290,000 rejected claims for Personal Independence Payments or Employment and Support Allowance have been granted on appeal – 6% of all those assessed.


Source: PIP/ESA tests ‘trigger lack of trust in system’ [You Think]


Scores of healthcare professionals may have been able to continue carrying out disability benefit assessments despite being the subject of multiple complaints about their behaviour, competence and honesty, confidential new documents have revealed.

The official reports, prepared by outsourcing giants Capita and Atos for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), show that up to 180 personal independence payment (PIP) assessors were the subject of at least four complaints each in three-month periods in 2016.

The documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that 161 assessors working for Atos had more than three complaints made against them in a three-month period.

And 19 Capita assessors were also subjected to at least four complaints in a three-month period in 2016.

Neither Atos nor Capita, nor DWP, will say what action was taken against these assessors and whether they are still carrying out face-to-face assessments of disabled PIP claimants.

The revelations provide fresh evidence of failings by the two private sector outsourcing giants in delivering PIP assessments across England, Wales and Scotland.

Disability News Service (DNS) has been investigating claims of widespread dishonesty by PIP assessors for more than a year, and has now heard from about 300 claimants who say their assessment reports contained clear lies.

The new reports include details of the “management information”


Source: The PIP Files: Data shows multiple complaints made against scores of Atos assessors | DisabledGo News and Blog


Nearly one in three of the disability benefit assessment reports completed by a private sector contractor were significantly flawed, confidential Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) documents suggest.

The figures were revealed through a government audit of personal independence payment (PIP) assessment reports that had been written by staff working for under-fire outsourcing giant Capita in 2016.

The audit, which examined more than 4,000 of the 190,000 assessment reports completed by Capita from April to December 2016, found that about 7.5 per cent of them were so poor as to be deemed “unacceptable”.

But with another 14 per cent of assessments, DWP concluded that the report was so flawed that there was “learning required” by the healthcare professional who wrote it, although the report was of an “acceptable” standard.

And in a further 12 per cent of cases, the report needed to be amended because of even more serious flaws in the assessor’s report, although again the report was still said to be of an “acceptable” standard.

In all, nearly 33 per cent of the Capita reports audited during 2016 were found to be of an unacceptable standard, to need changes, or demonstrated that the assessor had failed to carry out their role properly.

If the findings of the audit – which examined just over two per cent of all reports – were applied to all 190,000 of the assessments completed by Capita in that eight-month period, more than 14,000* PIP claimants could have had their claim decided on the basis of a report that was of an unacceptable standard.

And more than 62,000* could have been based on a report that was of an unacceptable


Source: The PIP Files: Nearly one in three Capita assessments were flawed, reports reveal | DisabledGo News and Blog


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has promised that no disabled people will have their benefits reduced because of its decision to review 1.6 million personal independence payment (PIP) claims.

The review follows last month’s decision by the new work and pensions secretary, Esther McVey, that she would not appeal a court ruling that found new rules introduced last year by DWP were unlawful, “blatantly discriminatory” and breached the UN disability convention.

The rules, which were rushed into law by the government last March, had meant that people who were unable to plan or undertake a journey due to overwhelming psychological distress would receive fewer qualifying points when assessed for PIP, with many receiving a lower level of financial support as a result, or even no PIP at all.

The new rules were only introduced because an upper tribunal ruling had found that DWP was wrong to say that such PIP claimants should not be entitled to those points.

Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, announced this week that, following McVey’s decision not to appeal the court ruling, DWP would review every one of the 1.6 million PIP claims that have been made since the benefit was introduced in 2013 to see how many had been wrongly assessed and were now entitled to backdated PIP payments.


Source: DWP promises no-one will lose out in huge review of 1.6 million PIP cases | DisabledGo News and Blog


Govt Newspeak

A report of disability benefit claimants’ experiences exposes government cruelty and incompetence in unprecedented numbers.

A person with Down’s syndrome asked when they “caught” it. A suicidal woman questioned over why she hadn’t killed herself yet. This is not the beginning of a bad taste joke but a description of this government’s treatment of disabled people.

The work and pensions select committee has released a reportinto the experiences of people being assessed for disability benefits – a 39-page rundown of a system plagued by basic errors, disrespect, and ignorance of health problems.

While it’s expected that the overwhelming majority of responses were negative – people with bad experiences are more likely to want to speak out, after all – it would be hard for even the staunchest supporter of the government to ignore the evidence on show: fundamental mistakes over people’s conditions, no record of relevant information, references to “invented”…

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