PIP assessments: ‘Lack of trust’ in benefits systems


Weak spots in disability benefits assessments — including claimants being asked when they had «twig captivated» Down’s syndrome — have led to a «pervasive lack of trust» in the system, MPs say.

The Familiars Work and Pensions Committee said reports by private contractors for the two pre-eminent disability benefits, PIPs and ESA, were «riddled with errors».

And it foretold contractors «universally missed» the set performance targets.

A government spokesman revealed the assessments worked for the «majority».

‘Shocking and moving’

The committee said it had acquired an «unprecedented» number of responses from people who had claimed Personal Home rule Payments (PIP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Almost 4,000 claimants complex «shocking and moving, credible and consistent» accounts, the report said.

A incessant complaint was that claimants did not believe the companies’ assessors could be trusted to take down evidence of their conditions accurately.

Examples given by the committee allow for:

  • One claimant was said in her assessment report to walk her dog, despite not owning one and being hardly able to walk at all
  • Attempts to self harm being left out of assessment circulates
  • Another claimant, who remained in bed throughout her interview at home, was reported to from risen from a chair «without any difficulty» even though the only chair in the room was the one the assessor was sitting

A former benefits assessor chew out tattle oned the BBC some of her ex-colleagues «copy and pasted» their assessments.

The unnamed better half told Victoria Derbyshire: «The nurses (assessors) were under a lot of feature and I think it led to a lot of mistakes.»

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The MPs’ arrive said ministers should consider taking the process back in-house from Capita, Maximus and Atos when contracts distributed up for renewal in 2019 and 2020.

‘Professional and compassionate’

Committee chairman Labour MP Up Field said the shortcomings were causing «untenable» human and economic cost.

«No-one should have any doubt the process needs exigent change,» he said.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: «As the Farm and Pensions Select Committee highlights, assessments work for the majority of man, with 83% of ESA claimants and 76% of PIP claimants telling us that they’re timely with their overall experience.»

The DWP had already accepted more than 100 recommendations from five separated reviews of the Work Capability Assessment and commissioned two independent reviews of PIP assessments, he amplified.

Capita said it was «firmly committed to delivering a high-quality service» and that its modified healthcare professionals were «dedicated to delivering professional and empathetic assessments for all claimants».

The Maximus-operated Converge for Health and Disability Assessments said it had achieved its quality standards in January but was «fully hand over to making further improvements».

And Independent Assessment Services — formerly differentiated as Atos Healthcare — said its focus was on providing a «professional and compassionate assessment handling».

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