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Select committee of MPs reviews PIP assessment process

MPs reviewing the response to the recent Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) inquiry into the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) have stated that it falls short of requirements in two ways:

  1. The assessment process should be made more accessible and the descriptors explained to the claimants.
  2. Claimants should receive their assessment report without having to ask for it.

In addition, the select committee recommended that an audit should be carried out on the process of granting home assessments, including any reasons for refusal.

The DWP agreed that more should be done to explain both the assessment process and the descriptors for each activity more clearly. But, the proposal to supply each claimant with a copy of their assessment report was rejected by them. The recommendation for an audit was also rejected by the DWP. This has led to concerns that public distrust in the PIP assessment process will continue to grow.

Bring the assessment process back in-house

On the plus side the DWP agreed that all PIP assessments should be recorded as a matter of course

Frank Field, the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, said that the DWP’s pledge to record all PIP assessments was a “tremendous step forward” and that it would “go a long way” to building wider trust in the assessment process”.

Evidence of the current distrust in the system came from Philip Connolly, the Policy Manger for Disability Rights UK, who stated that he “… was disappointed that the DWP rejected the recommendation that all claimants should be sent a copy of their assessment report in the post because it would give people the chance to understand what has been written about them and why in relation to their PIP claims”.

He continued: “Overall, the current assessment providers offer poor value for money for the taxpayer and we urge the government to consider very seriously the option of returning the assessment process in-house, given the contracts are up for review.”