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PIP / ESA Assessments ? Sanctions / Guardian / Private Eye & Other Articles - Carers UK Forum

PIP / ESA Assessments ? Sanctions / Guardian / Private Eye & Other Articles

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Today's Guardian , Social Care Network :

https://www.theguardian.com/social-care ... rtbreaking

I accompany people to disability assessments. The lack of empathy is heartbreaking

A taster :
What I have found particularly hard, in my experience of assisting claimants, is the apparent lack of understanding or empathy from healthcare professionals and telephone representatives at Atos and Capita, the two private companies that carry out the assessments. For someone with a physical or mental health condition, for example, there are challenges involved in simply travelling to the assessment. A client who lives in Cardiff was asked to attend an assessment in Swansea, with no recognition that this could be difficult.

Usual comments section at the bottom ... should be VERY interesting !

Just one for your starter for ten :

Thank goodness you care, Ms Watts, and have taken the trouble to present your facts to all of us. I have witnessed an ATOS interview and can concur with everything you write about the lack of empathy and understanding during such an episode. I have never believed such processes should be carried out by anyone other than seriously experienced and fit for purpose staff. Certainly none of the representatives I have met from either ATOS or Capita fit the nature of the job they are doing and it is a scandal.

Reality for so many of our fellow carees.

Welcome to this Sad New World ....
I too have experienced first hand the lack of empathy shown by ATOS PIP assessors. I wrote a post here a few years ago which explained how uncaring the young man was who did my Husbands assessment. He cried when it was over, it was so humiliating, degrading, intimidating and we were both treated abominably! We were called mate throughout; this was a lack of respect to both of us in our 60's, we don't use this language. He had no empathy whatsoever, no understanding of the trauma that we had faced with almost losing my Husband and now him being afraid to go out in case he had another heart attack. How on earth can a complete stranger assess someone they don't know and only see for an hour at the most!

This young man had no empathy whatsoever, he behaved in an inhuman way to myself and Husband and we had no doubt that we were being punished for becoming ill.

We have spent everything we have ever had, having been carers to our Son for the past 29 years who has Schizophrenia, OCD, GORD, Autism and has recently had a stroke. You would think that having been carers for all these years they would take into consideration the fact that we have saved the tax payer billions over the years and we are not scroungers!

Recently a friend of mine had a Dr's letter confirming her conditions and how they affected her, she also had a letter of a family support worker but they took more note of an assessor who was with her for 50 minutes? So very wrong on all accounts!

What a frightening world we live in when people with disabilities are treated like criminals for becoming ill!
What a frightening world we live in when people with disabilities are treated like criminals for becoming ill!

Therein lies the reality of life for so many in both CarerLand and CareeLand.

No way to challenge the relentless System steamroller , leaderless , and an underlying feeling of demonisation through Austerity , and the System's goal posts virtually being " Work and support yourself , don't expect us to do so if you don't. "

Only when the casualty count becomes too " High " for public perceptions will anything change.

Even then don't expect nothing more than slightly increased rations ... not for our benefit but merely to reduce the numbers back to what they , and public opinion , fueled by the tabloid press , consider as " Acceptable ".

After all , high casualty counts don't win elections ... unless it's the enemy numbers ... and we are are still not considered to be the enemy even if certain areas of the press disagree !

Not good news for MS sufferers !

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 20206.html

People with MS lose more than £6m of benefits a year after PIP is introduced, show figures

A third of MS sufferers who previously received the highest rate of Disability Living Allowance have had their payments downgraded since 2013

There are at least 38,000 people with MS yet to be reassessed for PIP, indicating that in line with the current trend, an estimated minimum of 11,000 more could still lose out on the mobility component alone. This would mean a further £20m per year could be taken away from them by the time PIP is fully rolled out.

The Department of Work and Pensions has not provided any evidence to show that those people losing out have less need for support.

In light of the findings, MS Society warned that mobility assessments were failing to reflect the barriers faced by people with MS, such as the unpredictable and fluctuating nature of the condition.

Pip may be popular as a character in Charles Dickens novels but ... somewhat ironic in today's Sad New World.

What's next ?

Bambi ... the social care slayer ?

Quite honesty , some of today's reports would seem fiction a mere decade or so ago ?

Our Department of Propaganda spokesperson said :

IN response to the findings, a DWP Spokesperson said: “Under PIP 36 per cent more Multiple Sclerosis claimants receive the highest rate of support than under DLA. We recognise symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis can fluctuate over time, and regular reassessments mean we can ensure people with degenerative conditions get the help they need as their condition changes.

"Assessments consider illnesses which affect sufferers during the majority of days in a year, rather than just on someone’s 'best days' or assessing ability on a single day.”

Pull the other one , it's got bells on it !
More on the impact of PIPs from today's Independent :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 45356.html
Almost 80% of people on disability benefits 'have seen health worsen since introduction of Tories' new system'.

Research from Disability Benefits Consortium says the PIP system is leaving most people worse off

No great surprises here ... merely what many of us have seen across individual reports across the media , and from conversations with claimants who have switched over.

A new benefits system for disabled people is making their health worse, leaving many isolated and struggling to pay for food and bills, according to a new report.

A major survey by more than 80 organisations reported that 79 per cent of respondents said their assessments for personal independence payment (PIP) had made their health worse, due to stress or anxiety.

More than a third of those who have had their funding cut in the middle of a benefits shake-up said they were struggling to pay for food, rent and bills, while 40 per cent said they had become more isolated.

Again , worth reading the whole article together with the expanding comments section at the bottom.
One article from today's Guardian which really does put the cat amongst the pigeons ?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... d-claimant

Benefits assessor sanctioned for mocking disabled claimant.

Alan Barham, who was dismissed by Capita after undercover footage emerged, given caution order by disciplinary panel.

A benefits assessor who was caught on film mocking disabled claimants of personal independence payments and suggesting they were liars has been found guilty of misconduct by a professional standards tribunal.

Alan Barham, a paramedic who carried out PIP assessments for Capita in Northampton, brought his profession into disrepute and undermined public confidence in the integrity of the PIP assessment process, a health and care professions disciplinary panel found.

It issued a five-year caution order, meaning any prospective employer will have access to details of the case on an online professional register for that period.

Barham was covertly filmed by a Channel 4 undercover journalist. Footage showed him boasting that he would largely complete assessment forms before meeting the claimant, and afterwards would often disregard the evidence they gave during their assessment.

He told the reporter he would “completely dismiss” claimants’ explanations for why they needed disability benefit, and rely instead on his own “informal observations” to “catch them out”.

WORD OF WARNING ... full article contains some strong words !

Barham told the panel that at the time he was filmed by Dispatches, he had become arrogant and big-headed. He had been lauded by Capita for the high percentage of excellent reports he produced and was well paid. He had allowed all this to “go to his head”.

He joined Capita in 2014 after 11 years in the ambulance service as an emergency medical technician and paramedic. He was dismissed by Capita after the programme aired.

The panel said that although Barham’s behaviour was not sufficient to warrant being struck off the professional register, and this was an isolated incident for which he had shown remorse, taking no action would have sent out the wrong message to the public.

Although the caution order will not prevent Barham from practising as a paramedic, the panel said it did not regard it as a lenient sanction, because it would negatively affect his employability and reputation.

Feel free to make your own judgements.

Citizen's Advice Bureau ... Disability Hate Crime .... guidance :

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-a ... ate-crime/

The Criminal Justice Act 2003.also comes into play here.

And what did the offender receive ???????????
Another article from the Guardian's Frances Ryan :

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... y-benefits

The staggering rise in PIP complaints shows there’s rot in the system.

It’s not just the scale of the complaints, it’s the increasing evidence that disability benefits are being removed on fabricated grounds.

hat happens when the system designed to help you is actually hurting you?

This is the question I keep coming back to as I look at the newly released evidence of widespread failings in the disability benefit system. Complaints about the personal independence payment (PIP) assessment process rose by nearly 880% last year, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

That translates to almost 1,400 people, who might have Parkinson’s or severe depression, put through the government’s flagship disability benefit who – after months of gruelling paperwork, assessments, and perhaps even tribunals – are so desperate that they then find more energy to put in a formal complaint. These can’t be dismissed as being unjustified either: DWP statistics also show that the number of complaints that were upheld rose by 713% in the same year (from 67 in 2015-16 to 545 in 2016-17).

For the past four years, I’ve been reporting on the radical changes to disability benefits orchestrated by Conservative governments.

The lack of humanity is glaring: there’s the Open University student with agoraphobia, Asperger’s and complex mental health problems living without a washing machine, oven or television after benefit cuts left her destitute; the 14-year-old child carer listening to her disabled dad crying because he doesn’t know how he’s going to pay the bills after having his disability benefits taken.

But as the DWP’s complaints show, the scandal of this goes even further: there’s increasing evidence that benefits have been removed from disabled people based on entirely fabricated grounds.

The picture that’s emerging should disturb anyone who cares about the welfare state, poverty, or basic government transparency.

The specialist disabled news site Disability News Service (DNS) has been carrying out an investigation into claims of widespread dishonesty in the disability benefit system, with more than 250 PIP claimants alleging assessors repeatedly lied, ignored written evidence and dishonestly reported the results of physical examinations.

It’s a regular occurrence for disabled readers to show me the reports of their benefit assessment, point to a statement, and tell me that it never in fact happened.

Even the latest official independent review of PIPs this March found there was “inherent distrust” of the system, due to the “lack of transparency in the assessment process” and the scale of faulty decisions (four out of five cases where a disabled person is denied disability benefits are now overturned on appeal).

Almost 80% of disabled people put through the PIP test have seen their health deteriorate due to stress or anxiety, a major survey found last month. More than a third of those who have had their benefit cut said they were struggling to pay for food, rent and bills. Forty per cent had become more isolated, and more than 50,000 disabled people have had their Motability cars removed after undergoing the PIP test.

None of this exists in a vacuum. Due to the fact the government is undertaking multiple cuts to disability services at once, many of the disabled people facing the PIP assessment have also simultaneously been forced through the notorious “fit to work” tests (often several times in the space of a few years) and/or then had their money sanctioned.

Talk to them about the reality of the disability benefit system in this country and it largely invokes a response of distrust, anger and fear. It isn’t hard to see why. As well as allegations of fabricated reports, secret filming has produced claims of a culture of targets, in which assessors are allegedly monitored to ensure they don’t find excessive numbers of disabled people eligible for sickness benefits, and mounting evidence of toxic punitive measures. As one former jobcentre adviser put it when describing her role with benefit claimants, there were “brownie points for cruelty”.

Cruelty can be lucrative. The two private firms hired by the government to carry out the PIP assessments – Atos and Capita – have been handed more than £500m in taxpayers’ money between 2013 and 2016. This is despite year-long delays, administrative chaos, and thousands of wrong decisions.

For any government-run system to be riddled with at best inaccuracy and at worst outright dishonesty, would be cause for serious concern. But that this is a system that’s charged with providing a safety net for some of the most disabled and severely ill people in this country makes it sickening.

By 2018, around 3 million disabled people will be put through PIP assessments. The result for many will decide whether they can eat regular meals, leave the house and pay for medical equivalent. The government must not only launch an independent investigation into the assessment process, including allegations of dishonesty, but urgently act on any subsequent recommendations. As it stands, the evidence is mounting: there is something rotten in Britain’s disability benefit system.

I've broken up some paragraphs into smaller bite size chunks ... I hope that it makes the article easier to read ?

Contining questions ... and no answers that make any sense ???
Disturbing article from The Eye :


PIP appeals: the cruel truth.

A 62-YEAR-OLD man with terminal leukaemia, who was wrongly denied benefits supposed to ease the extra financial burden of living with serious illness and disability, finally had the decision overturned at a tribunal – the month after he had died.

In another case, a 28-year-old woman with a spinal tumour had to be taken to her benefit tribunal by paramedics in an ambulance. Proceedings were immediately halted while the horrified tribunal judge went to tell Kirsty Garnett, outside, that her case was successful.

Universal credit isn’t the only government welfare reform causing extreme distress and hardship. Despite government assurances that those with terminal cancer or other life-shortening diseases would not have to face the ordeal of tick-box assessments for the new personal independence payments (PIP) at the hands of health professionals from Crapita and Atos, that is not the experience of many sufferers.

Duncan Walker, the welfare advice worker who represented the bereaved family and Ms Garnett, said theirs were but two of more than 30 “truly shocking” cases he has handled in the Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford areas during the past year. In every one, the cancer patient had been told by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that following their assessment they were ineligible for any PIP support – only for a tribunal to later award them the highest rates of daily living and mobility support. (Payments can range from £22 to about £140 per week.)

In a third case, Walker, an advice worker for Unite Community, himself witnessed a Crapita health check of a man with stage four lung cancer, and was alarmed by the assessor’s subsequent report. He told the Eye that he had seen the man having to use his bottled oxygen repeatedly – yet the assessor reported “no signs of breathlessness”. The report also said there was no need for a review for another two years – despite the man’s prognosis giving him just months to live.

Walker told the Eye: "These cases are absolutely horrendous and should not be allowed to happen. What is clear is that assessors pay little or no attention to what is written in claim forms, doctors’ notes and other accompanying material. In the worst cases, the process is a dishonest sham.”

Even in cases where doctors have completed a special certificate stating that a patient is likely to have less than six months to live – which is supposed to lead automatically to a fast-track PIP award – the final decision about whether to conduct a medical assessment, by someone who could be a nurse or an occupational therapist by training, is still left to the very companies who profit from carrying them out.

What is also shocking is that that there are no meaningful checks and balances in place at the DWP. It is supposed to carry out “mandatory reassessments”, or reviews, when claimants challenge the refusal of benefit. A freedom of information request in the summer revealed that a key performance indicator for those carrying out the mandatory assessments has set a target to refuse 80 percent – making a mockery of the process.

In Walker’s experience, the reassessments are upholding nearly nine out of ten rejections. No wonder the tribunals are overwhelmed and are overturning nearly two-thirds of DWP decisions. The scandal is the extra misery, stress and financial hardship sick people and their families suffer in the meantime.

Follow that !!!

Always rely on The Eye to probe where others fear to probe ???

A National Treasure ... and vital !!!
More on PIP assessments ... multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers this time ... today's Independent :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 85646.html

'Sometimes I wake up and I can't move': Woman with chronic MS refused disability benefits by DWP.

Aliie Harpham is one of 4,100 people with MS refused personal independent payment (PIP) last year – amounting to nearly a third of all sufferers who applied for the benefit, figures show

“I woke up one day and couldn’t see anything,” recalls Aliie Harpham, who discovered she had multiple sclerosis (MS) last year. “I felt completely paralysed, like someone had just pressed the ‘off’ button on my body. I had to lie in bed for a week. I thought I was dying.”

Now aged 26, Aliie is getting used to living with the incurable condition. But life isn’t easy. She can’t feel anything with her left hand, which makes it difficult to do simple things like tipping food from a heavy saucepan. She gets excruciating nerve and bone pain on a daily basis. The only reason she doesn’t constantly fall over is because she wears a foot brace to steady her foot drop. Sometimes she wakes up with involuntary eye movement so severe that she can’t even walk to the toilet.

“Living with MS, there are all these little things that normal, healthy people don’t experience but that become a daily thing for us,” she tells The Independent.

“It’s now just second nature for me to carry heavier things in my right hand. I have to be really careful with little things like leaning on a hot radiator, because my left side is numb. If I have a bad night’s sleep, my balance is completely gone and I have really bad word-finding abilities. I catch every single cold or flu virus that goes round and I’m also really prone to urine infections.”

The worst thing of all, Aliie says, is the nystagmus, an eye condition that comes with having MS, which comes on about once a month and leaves her unable to move, as well as a painful thing called the “MS hug”, which she gets on an almost daily basis.

“The first time I had the ‘MS hug’ I genuinely thought I was having a heart attack. It’s this really shocking quick pain. I get it a lot more now than I did when I was first diagnosed. It can last for up to an hour. I get it at work a lot because it comes on when you’re tired.

“And then I can’t do anything when the nystagmus comes on. I wake up with it and have to stay in bed for two or three days, I can’t even walk to the toilet on my own. It feels like someone’s shaking you when you’re standing still. The way I have to deal with it is just lay there with my eyes closed and ride it out.”

Despite all this – which she manages to hold up her job as a student veterinary nurse – Aliie gets no disability benefit from the Government, after an assessor for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decided she didn’t qualify for financial support.

The 26-year-old is one of 4,100 people with the condition who were refused personal independence payment (PIP) last year, amounting to nearly a third of all MS sufferers who applied for the benefit.

Figures obtained though Freedom of Information requests show 31 per cent of new claims from people with MS between April 2013 and April 2017 were found to be “disallowed”. A further 6 per cent (1,100) qualified for PIP initially but were then rejected after a reassessment – despite MS being a long-term progressive condition, for which there currently is no cure.

“It’s massively insulting you go through years of wondering what’s wrong with you, you finally get an answer, and then you’ve got someone who sits there for 20 minutes and decides you’re not disabled enough to receive any help,” Aliie says.

“I had been told the assessment would take an hour but mine lasted 15 minutes. I wasn’t asked any questions about how my disability affects me. When I Googled the set of questions afterwards, I found out they are the ones used to diagnose Alzheimer’s. I wasn’t asked to perform any physical tests.

“I’ve told myself the assessor had no idea what MS is or what it is to live with it, because the thought of someone having a full understanding of this condition and still behaving the way she did is too cold and painful to think about.

“Someone I’d never met before decided that although I have a life-long disability, I’m not ‘disabled enough’ to receive any help, even though I wear a fitted orthotic piece every day for my foot drop. I also have permanent sensory issues. They didn’t pick up any of my weakness of movement issues.”

Aliie says living with the additional costs that come with the condition on just her student wage is a struggle, and she only just manages to afford the journeys to medical appointments and routine medications she has to buy.

“I spend a lot of money on petrol to get to hospital appointments. I get sent all over the place in Dorset to different appointments, from Bournemouth to Dorchester. On a tight student wage it really bites into everything,” she says.

“And you have to buy a lot of extra stuff with MS. I have to buy a lot of over the counter medication. I spend a ridiculous amount of money on prescriptions.”

The MS Society, the charity that obtained the FOI figures, says that with 65 per cent of all PIP decisions that go to appeal being overturned at tribunal, the new data provides further evidence to suggest the PIP assessment system – which replaced disability living allowance (DLA) in 2013 – is “fundamentally flawed”.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of the charity, said: “It’s insulting that so many people who are diagnosed with a long-term, incurable condition are being told they don’t qualify for support. These latest figures show PIP isn’t just hurting those who’ve been moved across from the old system, but also new people who are trying to get support for the first time.

“PIP is meant to help manage the extra costs of living with a disability and assist people to be more independent. But it’s a tougher system than DLA, with much stricter rules. In too many cases, assessments fail to reflect the barriers people with MS face.”

The DWP announced new guidelines in November that will see certain claimants of PIP receiving higher benefit rates after a court found some disabled people were not being offered enough. But Ms Mitchell said this was not enough.

“Earlier this month we saw the Government rewrite some of the rules to comply with a legal ruling to make PIP fairer. But rather than tinkering around the edges, the Government needs to review the whole system to make sure it works more effectively for those it’s designed to support. Having MS is hard enough; it shouldn’t be made harder by a welfare system that doesn’t make sense,” she added.

Earlier this year, the charity highlighted at least £6m a year has been taken from people with MS since the introduction of PIP. The new figures also follow the revelation by Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, that more than 3,000 people have written to them in despair at the benefits system, with many driven to suicidal thoughts.

The MS Society is now urging the DWP to carry out an overall review of PIP to make sure assessments accurately reflect the reality of living with MS, which affects more than 100,000 people in the UK.

The charity wants to see changes including assessors with professional experience and adequate training of neurological and fluctuating conditions, an evaluation of how PIP takes hidden symptoms like pain and fatigue into account, and improvements in processes around providing medical evidence.

Aliie didn’t appeal the DWP’s refusal of her case after finding out the outcome of her assessment, saying she was too upset to try again straight away. But she will be reapplying for it once the appropriate time has past since her first application.

“First I was really upset, but now I’m just angry. Someone like me not getting it – I’m really going to struggle getting by, but some people out there really can’t live without this help. It’s made me feel awful for everyone out there,” she says.

“It’s enough being told that this is the rest of your life and it’s not going to get better. But then you have to fight tooth and nail to get any extra help.

“This condition comes with anxiety, it gives you depression. A lot of people with MS are too scared to go ask for help, they’re terrified because they hear how many people get turned down. I’m speaking to people every day who are home alone with no electricity because they’re just terrified to go there. It’s heartbreaking.

“My situation is the tip of the iceberg. I’m right at the beginning of this journey, but there are so many people who are in the thick of it at the moment and they’re still not getting any support.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “PIP assessments look at how people are affected by conditions such as multiple sclerosis over the majority of days in a year, rather than just assessing ability on a single day. Under PIP, 36 per cent more people with multiple sclerosis receive the highest rate of support than under the previous DLA system. Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal, and may submit additional evidence.”

One article from today's Independent ... does not make good reading :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 08441.html

Nearly half of disabled people reassessed under Government's new benefit system had financial support withdrawn or reduced.

Government accused of 'slashing away at welfare' after new figures show 47 per cent of disabled people see benefits reduced or stopped altogether.

Almost half of disabled people reassessed under Government's new benefit system last year had financial support withdrawn or reduced, new figures show.

Government statistics published on Wednesday show 47 per cent of people who were formerly receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) saw their support fall or stop altogether when they were reassessed for Personal Independent Payment (PIP).

Of a total of 947,000 claimants who were reassessed in the year to October 2017, 22 per cent saw their support reduced, while a quarter were disallowed or withdrawn altogether — meaning 443,000 people will have had their claims reduced or removed.

Thirteen per cent had their benefit left unchanged and 39 per cent had their support increased, according to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) figures.

A breakdown of claimants shows people claiming benefit for psychosis saw the highest proportion of cases either reduced or disallowed or withdrawn, at 58 per cent, while psychoneurosis and back pain also had high rates, at 52 per cent and 49 per cent respectively.

Opposition leaders and MPs accused the Government of "slashing away at welfare", saying ministers were trying to balance "increasingly precarious" accounts on the backs of the most vulnerable.

It comes after figures obtained through Freedom of Information laws revealed that the amount paid to the private companies that carry out the assessments, Capita and IAS, has increased by an average of 30 per cent.

Responding to the new DWP figures, co-leader of the Green Party Jonathan Bartley said: “By slashing away at welfare, the Government is heading in totally the wrong direction. It is weaponising welfare against those it should help.

“It is time it recalibrated it’s moral compass and steered it’s policies in a new direction. We need a new, modern vision for the welfare state – one that removes barriers for those who want to work, while giving real choices and opportunity to everyone.”

Mr Bartley suggested that this could start by piloting a universal basic income that supports every person, with extra payments made available to those – like the disabled – ensuring everyone can lead the pursue the life they want.

On the considerable rise in the amount private companies tasked with carrying out PIP assessments are paid, the politician said: “The Government is taking food from the mouths of disabled people while laying on a banquet for private companies.

“This comes only a week after Philip Hammond revealed his biases by labelling disabled people a drain on UK productivity. It shows just how twisted the Government's priorities have become.”

Stephen Lloyd, the Liberal Democrats' DWP spokesman, claimed his party had fought "tooth and nail" in the House of Lords to stop Government cuts to PIP, but that the Government had still "ploughed ahead".

He said: “These shocking figures show what I and others have believed for a while; a primary objective behind PIP is to cut costs rather improve the lives for disabled people.

“The chancellor had a chance in last month’s budget to reverse the £12 billion worth of welfare cuts still to come, but instead he chose to continue trying to balance the Government’s increasingly precarious accounts on the backs of the most vulnerable. A bad business.”

Phil Reynolds, senior policy and campaigns adviser at Parkinson’s UK, said it was “unacceptable” that despite our many warnings to the Government about the impact of PIP, almost a quarter of people were continuing to lose vital support.

“This means that around a thousand people living with a condition that will only get worse are losing out, and in many cases, having to return cars that keep them independent.

“With around a year to go until the Government aims to move everyone over to PIP, this nonsensical, head in the sand approach needs to stop. It is urgent that the Government recognises the system is failing people and makes changes now, by fixing the broken assessment process and improving assessors’ training before more lives are ruined.”

Last month, the Government admitted that some disabled people had been receiving too little financial support to meet their needs, after a court found some disabled people were not being offered enough, prompting the DWP to alter their guidelines.

PIP, which was was introduced in 2013 to replace DLA, brought in a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews of a claimant's ability to wash, dress, cook and get around as well as reading and communicating.

The system has come under fire on numerous occasions, accused of denying benefits to those who need them.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We introduced PIP to replace the outdated DLA system. PIP is a better benefit which takes a much wider look at the way an individual’s health condition or disability impacts them on a daily basis, and is tailored to suit each individual’s needs.

“Under PIP, 29 per cent of claimants receive the highest rate of support, compared to 15 per cent under DLA.”

They also urged that decisions for PIP were made after careful consideration of all the evidence provided by the claimant and their GP or medical specialist, and that the “large majority” of reassessed DLA claimants had received an award of PIP.

Figures have a habit of speaking for themselves ?

The social war intensifies ...