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PIP woes continue to top the issues reported to Citizens Advice Cymru

23 October 2018

One in three people reporting benefit problems to Citizens Advice Cymru needed help with Personal Independence Payments (PIP), the charity can reveal.

New figures show that between April 2017 and March 2018, the charity helped almost 17,000 people with PIP problems.

Of the people Citizens Advice Cymru helped with PIP problems:

  • 88% had issues with eligibility
  • 1 in 3 had trouble making and managing a claim
  • 1 in 6 faced problems challenging a decision and,
  • 1 in 5 needed help with appeals

PIP is a benefit that helps with the extra costs people with disabilities or long-term health condition may have. For example, it can be used to employ a carer to help people get washed and dressed, or to buy a mobility scooter to travel to work.

It was introduced in 2013 to start to replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). People have to go through a new application process in order to receive it.

Figures from the charity's annual 'Advice Trends in Wales' report also reveal that, on average last year, each person who sought help from Citizens Advice Cymru had 4 problems.

In one example, Citizens Advice helped a man with multiple long-term health conditions who after moving from DLA to PIP, was receiving less benefit. He contacted the charity for assistance with a PIP appeal where it was also worked out he was entitled to Pension Credit. Citizens Advice helped him make the claim which helped to ease the burden of the reduction in the disability benefit.

The top 2 issues reported to the charity during 2017/18 were:

  • Benefits and tax credits (40%)
  • Debt (28%)

These were followed by problems with financial services and capability (6%), employment (4%) and housing (3%).

Fran Targett, Director of Citizens Advice Cymru, said:

"Last year we helped more than 100,000 people in Wales resolve their problems. No one else sees so many people with so many different kinds of problems and that gives us unique insight into the challenges people are facing today.

"Each week, we continue to help hundreds of people with PIP - it's our top issue. While PIP can be a lifeline if you're living with a disability or long-term health condition, problems with the system can have a huge impact. They can stop you from getting the help you need to complete everyday tasks such as getting to work or cleaning the house.

"As more people move over to PIP from the Disability Living Allowance, we expect the number of people coming to us for help to increase.

"Don't struggle in silence. The Welsh Government currently funds quality-assured, specialist welfare benefit advice across Wales so your local Citizens Advice can help you with making a PIP claim or appealing a decision."

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice is made up of the national charity Citizens Advice; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.

  2. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers.

  3. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and postal markets. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.

  4. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free and independent support for both prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.

  5. Citizens Advice also offers Pension Wise appointments at 500 locations across England and Wales.

  6. 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.

  7. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk

  8. You can get advice in English and Welsh from Citizens Advice on Adviceline: 03444 77 20 20.

  9. We helped 2.6 million people face to face, over the phone, by email and webchat in 2017-18 in England and Wales. For full service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.

  10. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.