AN executive council board member has written to the Department for Work and Pensions asking for ‘urgent action’ to be put in place to support disabled residents in need of a personal independence payment (PIP).
It follows last week’s landmark ruling which confirmed delays in the processing of new PIP claims is unlawful.
PIPs are benefit payments to help people aged 16-64 with ‘some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability’.
Claimants, both employed and unemployed, can receive receive £21.80 to £139.75 a week, depending on how their condition affects them, which is determined by an assessment.
Cllr Hitesh Patel, portfolio holder for personnel and communications, said he is determined to help residents whose PIP claim has been, or is at risk of, being unlawfully delayed.
“I acknowledge there is a need to reduce the welfare bill, but the Government really should not be attacking disabled people in this way,” he added.
“According to research by the independent charity SCOPE, living with a disability can add an average of £550 to your normal monthly outgoings.
“Talking to some of my constituents during a recent street surgery, I heard first hand of cases where disabled people were struggling to get by and had to rely on foodbanks.
“Delays in processing legitimate disability benefits applications can put undue pressure on vulnerable members of our community and this risks adding further costs to the already under pressure local NHS and council services because inevitably individuals’ health suffers.
“Come October, the Government is going to have to process thousands more claims as people transfer from disability living allowance (DLA) to PIP and I am urging them to get the staff and systems in place to avoid unnecessary and unlawful delays.”
From April 2013, PIPs began replacing DLA but the process is ongoing and the Government says everyone who needs to switch to PIPs should be contacted by late 2017.
This process of transferring hundreds of DLA claimants in Warrington to the new PIP begins in October.
The above article is from the Warrington Guardian.