PIP ‘still causing misery’ for thousands, says Citizens Advice
Over 500 people a day have turned to Citizens Advice for help with Personal Independence Payments since the start of 2016, the charity reveals.
In the past 12 months almost 125,000 people sought help with the sickness and disability benefit from their local Citizens Advice, up 36% on the year before. A significant minority- 13% - of people asking for help are in work, and Citizens Advice says many will rely on PIP to be able to keep their job.
Since its introduction three years in April 2013 ago local Citizens Advice have helped people with over 630,000 enquiries about PIP, and over this time it has become the most common issue people need support with.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Three years after it began, the PIP system is still causing misery for thousands of sick and disabled people.
“PIP can be a lifeline for anyone living with a disability or long-term health condition such as arthritis, because it helps them with the additional costs they face like having someone come in to help with household chores or specialist equipment so they can get around.
“But every day hundreds of people are turning to Citizens Advice for help with the benefit. To get PIP most people have to go for medical assessment, but many feel that their medical doesn’t accurately reflect the day to day challenges they face with their disability or illness. And in some cases the appointment is so far away from home that it can be very difficult to get there, particularly if you’re in a wheelchair or on crutches.
“These problems with PIP assessments not only cause people unnecessary stress but can lead to serious money worries and threaten their ability to stay in or return to work. It’s good that waiting times for PIP applications and appeals have come down. But the government and companies delivering PIP assessments need to make sure people can actually get to the medical assessments and when they do, that the tests get it right first time. This not only reduces people’s worries but also the need for appeals too.”
Notes to editors
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
- To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
- Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
- Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.