Tory ministers have rewritten the law to deny increased disability benefit payments to more than 150,000 people

Tribunals had said the DWP should expand the reach of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – but the government warned this would cost it £3.7bn

Panicking Tory ministers have rewritten the law to deny increased benefit payments to more than 150,000 people.

Two tribunals had ruled the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should expand the reach of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – which helps disabled people fund their living costs.

 Yet the DWP warned that would cost £3.7bn extra by 2022 – so unveiled emergency legislation to stop the change happening.

Tory Disabilities Minister Penny Mordaunt said her move would “make sure we are giving support to those who need it most” – and insisted no one who had already been claiming PIP would see payments drop.

But there was fury after she tightened the law without consulting the government’s own Social Security Advisory Committee.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams stormed: “Instead of listening to the court’s criticisms of PIP assessments and correcting these injustices, this government have instead decided to undermine the legal basis of the rulings.

Read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/benefits-cut-change-tory-pip-9906018?

PIP INVESTIGATION: Politicians call for action over ‘widespread dishonesty by assessors’

Labour, the Green party and the Liberal Democrats have called for the government to act on claims of widespread dishonesty by the medical professionals paid to compile benefits assessment reports, following a two-month investigation by Disability News Service (DNS).

The three parties spoke out after DNS shared the findings of the investigation with key opposition figures.

Woman with MS had benefits cut because she could squeeze assessor’s thumb

A multiple sclerosis sufferer who had her mobility allowance axed because she could squeeze a person’s thumb has won a victory to have her benefits reinstated.

Mel Wiseman, 43, is unable to walk unaided for more than five metres and struggles to put her own clothes on.

She qualified for disability benefits but had her £87-a-month personal independence payment (PIP) cut after being ruled fit to work.

The decision was made after Mel, from Leicester, demonstrated to officials that she was able to squeeze someone’s thumb.

Assessors from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) visited her at home last July and decided she was no longer eligible for PIP.

Mel and her husband Charlie, 44, who is his wife’s full-time carer, appealed the decision after claiming her benefits were unfairly stopped.

The DWP has now reviewed the case and agreed to re-instate the benefit and has increased it to £301 to include mobility and daily living allowance.

The payment has been backdated to August and in addition the case will not need to be reviewed for another four years.

read more: http://metro.co.uk/2017/01/02/woman-with-ms-had-benefits-cut-because-she-could-squeeze-assessors-thumb-6356537/

Private firms rake in half a BILLION pounds for cruel disability benefit assessments

Atos and Capita earn the fees assessing people for PIP despite thousands having their cases overturned on appeal

Fit-to-work firms Atos and Capita have earned more than £500m of taxpayer cash running a hated Tory scheme to assess people for disability benefits.

Analysis of Government data by the Mirror shows the two firms were paid £211m for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments in the first 11 months of 2016.

That was up from £198m in 2015, £91m in 2014 and £7m in 2013, the year PIP launched.

PIP is designed to help disabled people live independently and is replacing the old Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Yet despite the assessments’ £507m price tag, thousands of decisions based on them are being overturned on appeal.

Figures to September 2016 show 61% of 90,000 claimants who appealed against a PIP decision at a tribunal won their case.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “This adds to the suspicion that these companies are just driven by a profit motive, and the incentive is to get the assessments done, but not necessarily to get the assessments right.

read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/private-firms-rake-half-billion-9515131#ICID=ios_TMNewsApp_AppShare_Click_Other

 

‘Absurd’ DWP accused over refusal to publish PIP statistics

Ministers have been accused of “absurdity and obfuscation” after refusing to explain why they do not publish statistics showing the number of assessments carried out on disabled people applying for their new disability benefit.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) publishes extensive data about the work capability assessment, which tests eligibility for the out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA).

Read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/absurd-dwp-accused-over-refusal-to-publish-pip-statistics/