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DR UK response to news of 'extortionate' benefit assessors payouts

14 April 2017

DR UK CEO Liz Sayce made the following comments on the news story that private companies carrying out PIP assessments are set to bank millions of pounds more than was budgeted for in their contracts.

See original press release

If Government is spending an extra £200 million on the companies carrying out PIP assessments, there are significant questions for Government to answer:

  • why they are spending this extra money
  • why has it gone over budget
  • is this a good use of taxpayers’ money at a time when we know that 50,000 disabled people have had their cars taken away following their PIP assessment and government has issued new guidance on PIP which we believe will make it harder for people with mental health conditions to get Personal Independence Payment at the highest rate.

Money is desperately needed now by disabled people for the basic right to get out and about and lead an independent life.

There are 2 major problems with PIP:

  1. The policy framework, in particular tightening eligibility criteria, resulting in large numbers of disabled people losing benefit or not getting it
  2. The assessments, which – according to the recent Independent Review by Paul Gray – do not achieve public trust in their fairness and consistency. Many decisions are contested and many are overturned on appeal. We worry for all the people who do not have the determination and patience to appeal, and who therefore put up with bad decisions.

In terms of what needs to be done:

Government can find resources when it needs to for major priorities – so why not for the basic right to a decent life for disabled people?

The assessment process needs to be improved. For instance, the process should be much more transparent, as Paul Gray proposes, with a record of the assessment – and audio recording if desired  - sent on to the claimant; and much easier processes for individuals to get vital evidence from health professionals to help assessors reach fairer and more accurate