-A A +A
Select color visibility that suits you Basic theme Dark theme Darker theme Text only

DR UK calls for new assessment approach for PIP as Atos and Capita get £40m increase

05 February 2018

Government spending on private firms carrying out 'brutal' disability benefit assessments soared by £40m in one year.

Read article in the Independent

A freedom of information request by The Independent found the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) paid Atos and Capita nearly £255m last year to perform PIP assessments.

This is the highest amount spent on the scheme since its launch in 2013 – an increase of £40 million.

The DWP said the reason for the year-on-year increase was due to a rise in the number of assessments.

Ken Butler, welfare benefits adviser at Disability Rights UK, told The Independent:

“PIP is failing in a number of ways, including those who qualify for the benefit but are turned down because of poor assessments. It’s no wonder around seven out of 10 appeals are successful.

Atos and Capita rely on healthcare professionals who are cheaper than doctors or specialists because they are commercially driven contractors. Their priority is profit, rather than what helps disabled people get the support they qualify for. It’s no surprise that occupational therapists or paramedics, for example, are wrongly assessing people with mental health conditions.

The Government should be looking seriously at a new assessment approach, such as partnerships between qualified medical professionals and disabled people’s organisations. Until a robust assessment process is in place, PIP will remain a broken benefit, in a broken system, which fails disabled people.”

A DWP spokesperson said  approximately 66 per cent of PIP recipients with mental health conditions receive the higher rate of the benefit, compared to just 22 per cent under DLA.

A High Court decision recently abolished PIP rule changes, affecting claimants who suffered psychological distress, because they were considered discriminatory and against human rights. The DWP said it would write to those who may affected and any payments owed will be backdated.

For further information on welfare rights, education issues and social care you will find our factsheets here or for more detailed information you can order a copy of the Disability Rights Handbook from our shop