Cllr Rachel Woods

PIP process setting people up to fall at the first hurdle

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Cllr Rachel Woods has claimed that the Personal Independent Payment (PIP) process sets people up to fall at the first hurdle. The comments come as a Freedom of Information Request made by the Green Party Councillor showed that around 20% of PIP benefit appeals were successful.

Cllr Woods said: “The PIP appeals process overturning the original assessment decision in around 20% of cases, meaning that 1,461 people were forced to challenge a flawed initial assessment across 2017/18”.

“I’ve been contacted by many people who struggled with the new PIP application process. These are people living with illness or injury, often long term and sometimes life limiting conditions.

“It’s clear from these figures that the process sets people up to fall at the first hurdle. It can be difficult to get through the first stage of the benefit process but even more difficult to summon the reserves to challenge a flawed first decision through the appeals process.

“I would encourage people to seek assistance in either completing the PIP process or challenging the initial decision.

“It is clear from these figures that challenging the original decision is worth the effort. There are many local advice centres that can help with the appeals process”.

The Councillor for Holywood and Clandeboye continued: “I would encourage the Department for Communities to revisit the first stage of the PIP process. It is clearly flawed and puts too many people in difficult decisions, placing the burden on them to ensure that the correct decision is arrived at.

“I’d also call on the Department to implement the recommendations of the recent independent review conducted by Walter Rader”.

ENDS

Media contact – Sinead McIvor

07701 302 498

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