Thousands more stripped of funding ‘to buy mobility aids’

More than 2,000 more people in the Bradford area have been stripped of their disability benefits as part of the Government’s transition from DLA payments to the new PIP system.

The benefits help disabled people to cover costs including mobility equipment but fewer people have been receiving pay-outs since 2013 when the Government began phasing out DLA.

The figures were obtained by a local newspaper, which found there was a significant drop in the number of people receiving benefits in constituencies including Bradford South, Bradford West and Bradford East between 2013 and last year.

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Local MPs and disability campaigners met the revelations with vented frustration with Imran Hussain, MP for Bradford East, telling the Telegraph and Argus that the Government is “failing disabled people with a dehumanising assessment process that is widely distrusted, not fit for purpose and focused more on reducing the claimant count than identifying needs”.

He suggested that PIP assessments should be scrapped and replaced by a plan tailored to individual claimants.

The assessment process is executed by private contractors who were widely criticised last year when it was revealed that 65% of people challenging their assessment rulings had them overturned in court.

Some mobility dealers have said that their customers are worried about the PIP system and their reassessments and what it could mean for their ability to purchase vital aids and equipment.

Judith Cummins, Labour MP for Bradford South, said that sick and disabled people find the assessment process “dehumanising and inaccurate”.

“There is a big lack of trust in the new system. Simply, it is not fit for purpose.”

A spokesperson for the DWP meanwhile, told the newspaper that it is committed to ensuring that disabled people get the full support that they need.

She said that under PIP 29% of people are getting the highest rate of support, compared with 15% under DLA.

“Assessments work well for the majority of people, but one person’s poor experience is one too many, and we’re committed to continuously improving the process for people so that they get the support they need.

“Decisions are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.

“Nearly 3.1 million PIP decisions have been made, and of these 9% have been appealed and 4% have been overturned. In the majority of successful appeals, decisions are overturned because people have submitted more oral or written evidence.”

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Joe Peskett

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