Scrap “cruel” PIP health reassessments, MP urges

A Fife MP has backed a motion calling on the UK Government to scrap “shocking and cruel” PIP health reassessments.

The call from Lesley Laird comes after a Kirkcaldy constituent was stripped of his mobility car, despite having had mobility allowance for over 30 years.

Lesley said: “This man had been on Disability Living Allowance his entire adult life but was forced to undergo a health reassessment after transferring to Personal Independence Payments.

“I can’t predict what the outcome of this man’s appeal will be. I do know, however, that over 60 per cent of PIP appeals in my constituency result in a decision being overturned; a figure which clearly tells me these degrading reassessments are flawed.”

Latest statistics, covering 2016/17, reveal that in the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, 160 PIP appeals were lodged and just 60 decisions upheld.

Lesley added: ”This probably doesn’t give us the entire picture though, because according to Disability Rights UK, four out of 10 PIP claimants do not appeal as it would be too stressful for them.

“There were 2150 PIP decisions made in my constituency over that 2016-17 period, so there could be another 800 people in the area who feel they were unfairly assessed.”

Lesley continued: “Nationally, the average waiting time from appeal to PIP decision from January to March this year was five-and-a-half months – two months longer than the same period last year.

“It’s shocking and cruel to treat people with disabilities in this way.

“People are being stripped of their dignity to save a few pennies for taxpayers but the Budget of Office Responsibility has progressively downgraded estimated savings since PIP was introduced.  

“The entire current assessment system should be scrapped.

“In the meantime, however, I’d urge people to appeal.”