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Disability Benefits Without the Fight campaign launched: the right to request an appropriate medical assessor

30 September 2021

Scope has launched a Disability Benefits Without the Fight (#WithoutTheFight) campaign calling on the Government to provide Disabled people with a right to request an appropriate assessor for PIP assessments and Work Capability Assessments (WCA). 

An open sent letter to Therese Coffey Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, signed by DR UK and several other disability organisations says:

“When applying for disability benefits, far too many disabled people get assessed by someone who doesn’t understand their condition. Disabled people are being repeatedly failed by stressful and degrading benefits assessments. 

This creates enormous anxiety, leaving disabled people forced to fight for the right support, and at risk of poverty when income is ripped away. 

All assessors are medical professionals, but often they don’t have the specialist training to match the conditions of the person they are assessing.

We believe that disabled people should have a right to request an appropriate assessor.

Right now, if someone applies for PIP primarily on the basis of having a learning disability, they could be assessed by a physiotherapist who has little understanding of their needs.

A right to an appropriate assessor would mean a disabled person could be assessed by someone with an appropriate medical background and a far better understanding of their needs.”

The letter adds that 72% of PIP decisions taken to a tribunal are found to be wrong and that having the right to request an appropriate assessor could see more correct outcomes the first time around.

It concludes that:

“Disabled people should never have to fight to get the support they’re entitled to. But almost three quarters don’t get the right benefit decision the first time around. 

The right to request an appropriate assessor for disability benefits assessments would bring us closer to a system that works for disabled people, not against them.”

The full open letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is available from scope.org.uk.

To support the campaign, Scope has launched a petition.

You can sign The right benefits first time around petition here.