PIP Assessments

Stephen Hepburn, MP for the Jarrow Constituency, has slammed Justice Ministers in Parliament after he highlighted the sheer number of people winning tribunals when appealing against the Personal Independence Payment assessment decision. 

In the House of Commons chamber, Mr Hepburn asked Justice Ministers: “Does not the fact that two out of three appeals in the north-east are successful prove that the privateers that the Government employ to carry out PIP assessments in the first place are not fit for practice by callously letting down disabled people and ripping off the taxpayer?”

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Lucy Frazer, responded with: “The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is taking a number of measures to ensure that it gets decisions right the first time. It has recruited an extra 150 presenting officers and is taking feedback from the tribunals to ensure that the reconsideration process is as effective and as right as possible.”

Personal Independence Payments known as PIP were introduced by the Government in 2013 to replace the old Disability Living Allowance. It is designed to help people living with a long-term health condition or disability with the extra costs of living.

As part of the application process, people must undergo an assessment that is provided by private companies Atos and Capita. However, campaigners say that instead of supporting people, the process is often dehumanising, inaccurate and worsens existing health conditions. 

The fact that the number of successful appeals against the original assessment decision suggests that the system isn’t working.

Stephen Hepburn MP said:

“As I said to the Government Minister in the chamber, the assessment process is a total failure and not fit for purpose.

“The widespread distrust of the assessment process by vulnerable and disabled people isn’t a surprise, with two in three of the decisions taken by PIP assessors in the North East are having to be overturned by judges at tribunals.

“We were told by this Government that privatising the assessment process would make improvements but they are only making things worse for people and ripping off the taxpayer by making the same mistakes repeatedly and forcing people to appeal against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at tribunals.

“This has truly been a Tory Government failure of these privatised assessment systems. Instead of making excuses they need to apologise to all of those they have let down.”

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Meet your MP

 Stephen-Hepburn-MP

Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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