Personal Independent Payment Assessments Are an Excuse to Strip Assistance Away From People With Disabilities

According to a story from The Independent, Britain’s disability welfare program is coming under fire for its Personal Independent Payment (PIP) assessments. Statistical measures suggest that these assessments are taking away coverage from people with disabilities who desperately need it in order to survive.

PIP was first introduced in 2013, and has been a subject of controversy from the beginning. Its program of regular assessments, intended to gauge the patient’s ability to complete necessary daily tasks, has turned into a nightmare for many disabled people who hope to collect benefits in order to support themselves. Although some people in the program report a positive experience with these assessments, many patients find them demeaning, stressful, and unfair.

A court reported this past November that many people in PIP were not receiving sufficient financial assistance. In this situation, the government agreed to increase benefits for patients in the program. It wasn’t much later until another assessment showed that the problem was appearing to worsen instead of improve. This measure showed that 68 percent of appeal hearings overturned decisions to deny coverage. Meanwhile, private contractors that the government hires to conduct the assessments are raking in record profits.

Testimony from people who have endured PIP assessments adds a human face to the problem. Allie Harpham of Dorset suffers from multiple sclerosis, a condition that leaves her paralyzed and also severely affects her vision.

After being told that the test would take an hour, it instead concluded in only fifteen minutes.

She was never questioned about how the condition affected her everyday life.

Harpham googled the questions that she was asked and discovered that they were from a questionnaire used to diagnose Alzheimer’s, a condition that bears little similarity to MS. She was subsequently denied assistance.

Unfortunately, Harpham’s story does not appear to be an exception. Army veteran Robert Price, who broke his back and neck during his tour of duty, was also denied coverage after receiving benefits for twenty-five years without any problems. Despite being paralyzed and essentially bedridden, his PIP assessment claimed that he could walk fifty meters without assistance, and his coverage was dropped. A society must be judged by its treatment of the most vulnerable, and as of now, England doesn’t appear to be doing a very good job of it.

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