It’s been debated by many including myself about the fairness concerning PIP telephone assessments. It’s extremely triggering and stressful to attend these ‘medical assessments’ in the first place but at least you could see the assessors in person which can make appeals easier.
It also is extremely difficult to attend a telephone ‘assessment’ for those that have phone anxiety and limited, if any access to a telephone to conduct a telephone assessment.
The government are still ignoring the fact that not everyone has a telephone and not everyone can use a telephone hence my worry that telephone assessments could be harder than face-to-face assessments.
As reported by Benefits And Work the latest quarterly PIP statistics suggest that almost 2,000 fewer new claimants a month are getting an award since assessments switched from face-to-face assessments to telephone assessments.
These statistics also report that record numbers of people are now applying for PIP, but less applicants in proportion than ever receives their PIP payment.
The figures show that the overall average success rate for new PIP claims since PIP was introduced is 55%.But this has averaged over the last six months that the the success rate for new claims is just 48.5% since telephone assessments have been introduced.
Compare this to the same six months in 2019-20, before telephone assessments started, the success rate was 52%.
This decrease may seem small to many but in reality it means that 5,950 disabled claimants who would have previously been awarded their PIP payments were refused when the telephone assessments were introduced in the last quarter.
Whilst it can’t be be conclusively proved that it is the telephone assessments that has caused this, indeed PIP award rates have been falling for a long while, I can say that having a telephone assessment is going to reduce claims being successful.
I can also say that the government never misses a chance to deny a person their rightful payments to enable them to survive.I can bet that the same Tory MP’s implementing these policies and decisions never miss a chance to claim a so called expense when they get the chance to do so. Whilst they see that it’s ok for them to claim for just about anything that they can do, they see a disabled persons quality of life as an expense too much for them to pay.
The cruelty that the government dishes out to the poorest and most vulnerable appears to be never-ending. My fear is that the same government is going to refuse people with Covid 19 and Long Covid their rightful disability payments. Myself and others will be watching this situation and reporting on it.
For anyone that is or has made a claim for PIP and has been refused, it is essential that you appeal against a refusal. I know that its a horrible, arduous process to undertake but its worth doing.
I still intend to start my podcasts asap. I totally lack confidence in this area though. I will start it asap though.
As for me it’s been a tough week. I received a phone call today telling me that my son’s memorial has been put in place and is now ready to view. Honestly having a child die, no matter what age is a pain unlike any other. He was my only son and he was dedicated to helping his family.
I have to keep reminding myself that it’s ok to grieve even when I feel that I shouldn’t. My son enjoyed the summer weather but not the hay fever that comes with it. His favourite thing to do was to help others and he’s missed by so many in his community.
Even though he’s no longer with us I will still be campaigning on behalf of my son, he was autistic and he also had to fight for his rightful payments.
A huge thank you to everyone that reads and supports my blog, I really couldn’t do this without you.
If anyone would like to donate towards the campaign and my blog a donate button is at the top and side of this blog post.
Research led by Inclusion London reveals that the COVID-19 crisis has impacted thousands of disabled people.
As reported by Disability News Service who have seen a draft version of an interim report based on the research titled Abandoned, Forgotten and Ignored.
The report conducted by Inclusion London is based upon more than 300 online survey responses from across England including a small number of people living in Scotland and Wales.
The report concludes that “Despite the government’s rhetoric about protecting and supporting Disabled people, the reality is that they have been treated less fairly and discriminated against across all areas of their lives.”
The report also warns that many disabled people most affected by the pandemic will not have had access to its online survey resulting in the findings of the report likely to represent only “the tip of the iceberg” due to lack of access to the internet for many disabled people.
Inclusion London have reported that disabled people have been suffering from increasing levels official isolation, mental distress, lack of decent if any care and support during the pandemic, also finding that there has been difficulty for many to access food and also difficulties accessing healthcare such as prescriptions and suchlike.
The report discloses that the actions of central government, local authorities and service-providers have continued to fail exclude and marginalise disabled people which in turn has resulted in discrimination.
It also finds that disabled people in high-risk groups have been unable to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE), and have also had had their vital care packages cut and important social care assessments delayed.
Indeed it reports that a quarter of the people that have responded that receive direct payments for their care were left unaided to cope with staff issues and sourcing their own PPE.
One disabled person responding said of their experience “My care agency are not getting adequate PPE, and they are so short-staffed at present that I’ve been lucky to get a shower once a month (and cannot have a strip wash at all due to them sending male care workers to me eight times out of 10 instead of female), and am not getting one in three of my daily care calls.”
More than three-fifths of people that responded to the survey said they had struggled to access food, medicine, and other necessities.
Respondents described how supermarkets had refused to make reasonable adjustments for them when they tried to shop in-store and how they were unable to order home deliveries.
Many have not received the support they vitally need to prepare meals for themselves also, this resulting in being forced to spend more money on food by having to shop in more expensive stores or having to order their meals online.
More than a third of those surveyed spoke of increasing levels of mental distress during the pandemic.
One respondent saying that they had been inside their home for three-and-a-half weeks without going out resulting in them feeling that they were losing their mind, going on to say that have a pre-existing mental health condition, and it is causing a big relapse.“I feel trapped and controlled and claustrophobic.
This had left them too scared to leave the house because if they get sick that they knew that, as someone with pre-existing conditions the doctors will leave them to die in favour of someone who has a better chance of surviving.
Several people that responded to the survey also said they had been asked to agree to having ‘do not attempt resuscitation’ orders placed in their medical records. Others told they would not be admitted to hospital if they fell ill or would be denied life-saving emergency treatment.
One person responding said: “I can’t access the government scheme for support because apparently I’m not disabled enough.“However I’m disabled enough to get suggested to sign DNR [Do Not Resuscitate], and inferred I’d be left to die if hospitalised.”
Inclusion London concluded the report by warning that there will be a much higher demand for advice and support from disabled people after the lockdown is lifted. This leaves many organisations needing to increase their funding to provide these essential services.
Its a terrible indictment upon the government that disabled people have had to resort to legal action because of the discrimination that they have faced from the government.
This report has reinforced the view that the government and society looks upon disabled people as a burden on the state and are second class citizens.
It is very disturbing however not surprising that disabled people have been treated in this manner throughout the pandemic. The government clearly regards them as unimportant and not deserving of any quality of life, which to be honest is very clear to see. We cannot allow this inhumane treatment of the most vulnerable in society to continue.
Last month the DWP minister Justin Tomlinson informed the Commons Work and Pensions committee in parliament that face to face ‘interviews’ are set to return although he stated that some telephone and video assessments will still continue.
There has been no concern from Tomlinson about the safety of vulnerable claimants and the fact that there is still a pandemic and most people forced to attend these ‘assessments’ are indeed vulnerable and are still having to shield.
Tomlinson however claimed rather confusingly that they had ‘Lost all of their health professionals’ because they apparently have gone to work for the test and trace system instead.
It isn’t clear yet how the system is going to return to normality when, as he said the health professionals that were employed have now left. Maybe Tomlinson will pay them even more money to do this, therefore tempting them away from their current employment. Who knows, I expect we will find out sooner rather than later.
It does however take a particularly cruel mindset to conduct these ‘assessments’ and to declare vulnerable people fit for work when they clearly aren’t.
Tomlinson went on to say that the work capability assessments (WCA) will begin shortly and PIP (Personal Independent Payment) ‘assessments’ will follow a few weeks later although they will keep video and telephone assessments. Tomlinson wasn’t clear in what capacity this will be, clarity isn’t his or the Tory party’s strong point.
As I write this I expect many people will have had their much dreaded letter from the DWP regarding their assessment, thus causing distress and panic for already vulnerable people.
Whilst the Covid 19 vaccination programme is going well there are people that are unable to have the vaccinations for health reasons. The Covid 19 strain from India has now started to take a hold in the UK, putting thousands at risk.
I urge Tomlinson and the government to rethink their assessment strategy and to put the health and well-being of disabled and vulnerable people first.
Once again thanks to Benefits and Work for their hard work in researching this and publishing this information. You can find them over at http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk
WCA is the Work Capability Assessment and PIP is Personal Independence Payments.
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