The Work and Pensions Committee has released a study to hear about first-hand experiences of the evaluation procedures for Individual Independence Payment (PIP) and Work and Assistance Allowance (ESA).
Entitled How could DWP enhance health assessments for PIP and ESA?, the survey can be finished here.
The study is open to everyone who has had an assessment to claim PIP or who has had a Work Capability Assessment, either to declare ESA or as part of a Universal Credit claim.
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To support the committees inquiry, survey participants will be asked what they did and did not like about their PIP or ESA assessment. Participants are also motivated to submit recommendations for enhancing the evaluation process.
Anyone who has had an assessment for another health-related benefit can send written evidence to the inquiry here.
The committee has actually previously heard that the application and evaluation processes for health-related advantages are frequently flawed, with a majority of individuals who appeal against choices made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) being successful.
Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, stated: “We hear all frequently about the issues that people have actually when being examined for PIP and ESA, both on the Committee and as constituency MPs, but development in enhancing the assessments has actually been slow.
Survey respondents are asked to share their views on whether this “single digital platform” is an excellent concept or not.
DWP is considering whether to present a “single digital platform” for PIP and ESA. This might, for example, enable people to make and receive updates on their claims (such as decisions) online, without filling out paper forms, or enable information on claims (such as medical evidence) to be shared between applications for different advantages.
A freedom of details request by the BBC in 2019 found that half of the individuals who appealed in court against a decision to deny them disability benefits succeeded. This high success rate in court might have been credited to bad decision-making from assessors for disability advantages like PIP.
One key distinction of ADP, in contrast to the current PIP system, will be that all disability awards will be made on a rolling basis, without any set date for an award ending. In cases where it is not likely that a customers condition will improve, there will be at least 5 years in between Light-Touch evaluations, the Scottish Government stated.
” DWP has stated it is currently thinking of how they can be made better, and we think that the views of individuals who have had PIP or ESA assessments are vital to doing this effectively. We want to hear directly from individuals who have been through assessments about how the assessment went, and what needs to change to make the procedure better in the future.”
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The study quizzes individuals about whether they had a necessary reconsideration (MR), which is where plaintiffs are allowed to appeal a decision made by DWP if they are unhappy with the outcome. Individuals are further asked whether their appeal went to tribunal, which is where the claimant is dissatisfied with the MR and takes the case to court.
This year, Scotland will introduce a new disability benefit to replace PIP called Adult Disability Payment (ADP), which will be administered by Social Security Scotland.
The study is part of the Work and Pensions Committees inquiry, which is examining the efficiency of the application and assessment procedures for benefits paid to handicapped individuals and people with long-term health conditions, amid continuing issues about the issues being experienced by people making claims.
Furthermore, in early 2020, the Work and Pensions Committee heard that three-quarters of PIP appeals that were brought to justice were discovered in favour of the claimant.