What do you think of PIP and ESA?

Share your thoughts with the Government

The Work and Pensions Committee have opened an inquiry into the application, assessment and appeals process for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment & Support Allowance (ESA).

The Committee has opened an inquiry in response to some of the recent criticisms of the two benefits.

Some of the most notable issues include the assessors’ ability to assess a wide range of physical and mental health conditions and the high success rate (65%) in appealing a decision.

The Committee is interested in hearing recommendations for changes, and lessons that can be learned.

Wheelchair user

Some of the points to consider include:

  • Do contractor assessors possess sufficient expertise to carry out assessments for people with a wide range of health conditions?
  • Is the Department for Work and Pensions quality control for contractors sufficient and effective?
  • Should the options for reforming the Work Capability Assessment discussed in the Government’s Government’s Improving Lives green paper be taken forward?
  • What examples of best practice in assessing eligibility for benefits are available internationally and how transferrable are they to ESA and/or PIP?
  • Why do claimants seek to overturn initial assessment outcomes for ESA and/or PIP?
  • Why are levels of disputed decisions higher for PIP than for ESA?
  • Is the Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) process working well for claimants of ESA and/or PIP?
  • What accounts for the rate of overturned decisions at appeal for PIP and/or ESA?
  • Are there lessons that could be learned from the ESA MR and appeal process for PIP and vice-versa?
  • What changes could be made earlier in the process to ensure fewer claimants feel they need to appeal?
  • Do prospective claimants currently understand the purpose of the assessment?
  • How could claimants be helped to better understand the assessment process?
  • Are some groups of claimants particularly likely to encounter problems with their assessments – and if so, how can this be addressed?
  • Should the assessment processes for PIP and ESA be more closely integrated? How else might the processes be streamlined for claimants?

Find out more about how to submit your views to the Work and Pensions Committee inquiry

Submissions are due by 10 November 2017.

Source: Turn2us

Work Capability Assessment – Government responds to 5th Independent Review

DWP has accepted the majority of the recommendations from the fifth Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

The final review, which was carried out by Dr. Paul Litchfield, was published in November 2014. Dr. Litchfield looked at the changes that had been made to the WCA in response to the first four reviews. Although he made some recommendations for further improvements, Dr. Litchfield said:

“My counsel would be to let the current WCA have a period of stability – it is by no means perfect but there is no better replacement that can be pulled off the shelf.”

Dr Litchfield made 28 recommendations and 26 have been accepted. These relate to a range of issues including: • An increase in the number of people being placed in the Support Group, especially younger people; • The need to ensure that communications are as good as they can be especially for more vulnerable claimants; • Better support for claimants with learning disabilities.

One of the recommendations from the fourth independent review was that DWP should make it clear that evidence from care professionals such as community psychiatric nurses, support workers and carers can prove extremely useful when deciding whether someone is entitled to Employment and Support Allowance. This is particularly the case if someone has a mental health condition.

Mental Health LogoAs a result DWP has improved the ESA50 questionnaire, which people complete when they claim ESA. DWP sought the views of disability organisations to help inform these changes. The revised ESA50 questionnaire will be issued from March.

The Government’s response to the fifth independent review is available at Focus on Disability

“Community support workers for people with mental health conditions/learning difficulties have been chopped left, right and centre through the millions of pounds slashed from county council budgets. Are we supposed to believe it will get better in todays fiscal climate? – I don’t think so”