Scottish MP blasts PIP appeal times leaving disabled people without equipment

An MP in Scotland has expressed his frustration with the process that grants people funding to purchase items essential for daily life, including mobility equipment.

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan has obtained new figures showing that appeals to overturn unsuccessful Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments can nearly five months in the locality.  

The Government hopes the recent move which saw PIPs replace the old DLA system will cut spending by 20% but many criticise the decision claiming that some disabled people are losing out on essential aids, including Motability vehicles.

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Figures obtained by Mr Cowan from HM Courts and Tribunals Service show that the time taken to settle appeals has risen since PIPs were introduced in 2014. In Mr Cowan’s constituency the average waiting time stands at 19 weeks, notably higher than the regional average.

Mr Cowan said that the appeal times are a “scandal” and that the UK Government is failing some of the most vulnerable people in society.

The MP was quoted by The Herald saying: “The [PIP] forms are extremely complex, the people who conduct the assessments often don’t understand the difficulties people face, and the rules mean many people who used to get support are now losing out. Decisions are often wrong, even after mandatory reconsideration stage, and have to go to appeal.”

But in defence, a recent report by the Disability Benefit Consortium, made up of a number of different charities, said that 64% of PIP appeals in the last quarter were successful and PIP appeals comprised 45% of the work of the Social Security and Child Support tribunals.

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