Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Reading West, Victoria Groulef, has raised serious concerns at delays experienced by local disabled people who are trying to access vital help.
Disabled adults in Reading West constituency are currently being reassessed to come off Disability Living Allowance and onto the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) but the assessment process and appeals have been hit by delays.
Nationally, almost 350,000 people applied for PIP in the first year of operating, but under 84,000 received a decision about whether they qualified for PIP. At the current rate of decision-making for PIP claimants (about 7,000 per month) it will take 42 years to clear Iain Duncan Smith’s backlog.
In Reading it’s believed 4,500 working age disabled people receiving DLA will be hit by delays/PIP reforms according to latest DWP statistics.
Victoria Groulef has been contacted by people who are still waiting for their payments to start.
'Real Anxiety and Hardship'
Victoria said: “The delays caused are causing real anxiety and in many cases serious hardship. I spoke to a lady in her 60’s. She is a fulltime carer for her husband who has a degenerative illness. Her husband applied for personal independence payment. Both worked for years and paid into the system.
“They waited just to get an assessment and then when they did her husband was refused PIP. The couple won the case at tribunal but are now still waiting for support.
“Another person waited many months for an assessment. As her award runs for only three years even once it goes into payment she faces having to go through the whole process again very soon afterwards. These shocking local experiences of long delays are unacceptable.
“I am also aware that many parents with disabled children are experiencing significant delays in getting Disability Living Allowance. Many have been in touch to say they’ve had to wait up to six months rather than the suggested 6 weeks. We need the Government to step in now and take action to stop more disabled people and their families from experiencing the stress and hardship caused by this new system.”
Notes for editors
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working age (16-64 years of age) disabled people is being abolished by the Government.
- New claimants must now seek Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which launched in April 2013. People receiving DLA are also set to be assessed for PIP. Existing DLA claimants will be moved off DLA as reviews are required, or from October 2015.
- PIP delays
- MPs spoke in a debate on DWP chaos on 30 June which included examples of PIP delays: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140630/debtext/140630-0002.htm#14063023000001
- PIP is beset with delays. Almost 350,000 people applied for PIP in the first year of operating, but under 84,000 received a decision about whether they qualified for PIP.
- At the current rate of decision-making for PIP claimants (about 7,000 per month) it will take 42 years to clear Iain Duncan Smith’s backlog.
- PIP costing more
- PIP was set to save £2 billion in this Spending Review period. But the £127 million per year cost for the assessment process and severe delays are adding costs to the taxpayer. DLA/PUIP spending is £1.4 billion more than projected this year and delays/rising costs in this and other reforms put the Government’s welfare expenditure cap at risk.
- The National Audit Office considered PIP progress in 2014 and highlighted a £140 million shortfall in savings already, as well as stating: “in the current Spending Review period to April 2015, the DWP will not achieve the savings it originally expected” and “because it may take some time to resolve delays the Department has increased the risk that the programme will not deliver value for money in the longer term”.