Parkinson’s UK Criticise Government Over ‘Absurd’ Disability Benefit Statistics

Parkinson’s UK has criticised the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and the coalition government, over “absurd” claims and statistics used by Iain Duncan Smith and his ministers to justify controversial reforms to disability benefit.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced with Personal Independence Payment’s (PIP), which will include repeat face-to-face disability assessments for the majority of claimants, as part of widespread government cuts to welfare spending.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) claimed that “more than 50% of decisions for Disability Living Allowance were made simply on the basis of a claim form alone, without any medical evidence”.

Parkinson’s UK complained to the UK Statistics Authority, claiming that the DWP were misusing statistics in order to “vindicate further welfare reforms”.

The complaint has been upheld by the UK Statistics Authority, who said that it would be more accurate to say that only 10% of decisions for DLA were made purely on the basis of a claim form alone.

Donna O’Brien, who submitted the complaint to the UK Statistics Authority on behalf of Parkinson’s UK, said:

“The Department of Work and Pensions has a long track record of misusing statistics when it comes to the benefits system, and it’s clear this was a tactic to vindicate further welfare cuts.

“People with Parkinson’s who claimed DLA have told us supporting medical evidence was crucial due to a woeful knowledge of the condition amongst assessors, and it is absurd that the Government was trying to imply that anyone going through the system had an easy ride.”

Tina Walker, 55, from Cornwall was diagnosed with Parkinson’s eight years ago. Her symptoms include dystonia, and mobility issues – when she’s stressed her symptoms get significantly worse. She had two face to face assessments where the doctor came to her house, and was awarded a lifetime DLA payment, but in the next couple of years she’s very worried about being reassessed for PIP and the anxiety is making her symptoms worse.

Tina Walker, says: “I’m not going to get better and it’s awful that they’re doing this. The whole PIP thing is a minefield, and their mobility rules really worry me. We’re only just managing to live day to day, only just manage to pay the groceries and the bills and we’ve got no safety net at all if we lose these benefits.

“It’s so scary. You get to the point where you think, why don’t they just put us up against the wall and shoot us. The whole system makes you feel as though it’s all fault – like you’re conning the Government out of money – even though you know how ill you are and you desperately need it.

“Mentally and physically it’s completely draining – my anxiety levels go as high as a kite when I’m anxious and my dystonia symptoms gets worse.”

Steve Ford, Chief Executive at Parkinson’s UK said:

“The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) seems to forget it is meant to be providing a service towards sick and disabled people in genuine need. Using misleading statistics to justify switching from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to the shambolic Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is simply a mechanism to deny many people access to the benefits they desperately need.

“The PIP benefit is turning into a fiasco – more costly to administer and less efficient, worst of all causing unnecessarily stress and anxiety because of a nonsensical plan to reassess those with a progressive condition to see if they have recovered.

“The DWP has a long track record of misusing statistics when it comes to the benefits system, and it’s clear this was a tactic to vindicate further welfare cuts. People with Parkinson’s who claimed DLA have told us supporting medical evidence was crucial due to a woeful knowledge of the condition amongst assessors, and it is absurd that the Government was trying to imply that anyone going through the system had an easy ride.”

Parkinson’s affects 127,000 people in the UK and someone is diagnosed with the debilitating disease every hour. Parkinson’s UK say that one in twenty people are under the age of 40 when they are first diagnosed.

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John
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John

They are focusing on those with 'genuine need' A million dropped out at the first round. Too many were stealing from the few genuine claimants, of taxpayers money

RLJ
Guest

Wrong way round, John. A tiny minority steal; the government uses them as a justification to take from those with genuine need. The UK gov's own estimate is that fraud runs at 0.7% of the total social security bill (and that includes people working in the black and claiming JSA, etc., claiming for kids who don't live with them, etc.)

These tests won't stop the chancers; the tests are simply intended to reduce the bill by any means possible. That means going for the soft targets – those without the mental or physical strength and health to fight.

jaynel62
Guest

This is precisely why we produced our 2nd petition HOC STOP Ministers Spinning Statistics
http://jaynelinney.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/petit

Please support this together we can enforce Positive Change

jeffrey davies
Guest
jeffrey davies

you got to be joking rtu ids so full of of lies yet we now they check how far one is down this road it beggers belief that all our mps are leaving them take it away from those who claim it jeff3

colin morris (@tealc
Guest
you are right the truth is we are sitting targets easy prey for a department is only iterested in in reducing numbers without any regard of consequence to the individual PIPS is nothing more than a "tool"designed to make it virtually impossable to qualify for example if you can move 20 meters you are classed as mobile it was 60 meters 20meters is further from youre front door to where youre car would be how can this possably be right or fair what really annoys me is that we all are under expert medical teams consultants registrars and of course… Read more »