Liz Truss shut down by Beth Rigby over benefits row
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PIP is a benefit which is given to people with long-term physical or mental health conditions or disabilities who are under state pension age. PIP is made up of two different components called the Daily Living Component and the Mobility Component and these are paid at the standard rate or the enhanced rate. Overall, people could receive an extra £627 each month to help with their daily lives.
To receive PIP, people will need to apply with a PIP form which asks questions about a person’s condition affects them.
People will also need to provide medical evidence from a doctor, social worker, nurse or other professionals about their condition.
In order for the DWP to confirm PIP eligibility, the Government department will need to conduct a PIP medical assessment by an independent healthcare professional.
The PIP assessment providers for the DWP are the companies Capita and Independent Assessment Services (IAS).
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In the assessment, a health professional will look at someone’s ability to carry out a range of daily living activities and mobility activities.
This is usually done through a physical or video meeting.
This professional will then consider whether someone’s condition or disability limits their ability to carry out the activities and how much help is needed.
PIP descriptors are used to assess a person’s ability and each descriptor has a point score assigned to them ranging from zero to 12.
When assessing which descriptor applies to the person, the healthcare professional will consider how safely and well enough a task is done, and whether someone can do it more than once and in a reasonable timeframe.
According to the Mental Health and Money Charity, the independent healthcare professional will advise the DWP on which descriptor is most relevant to a person.
A report will be written based on the assessment and the evidence provided and this will help the DWP make its decision on a claim.
The PIP assessment process has been criticised in the past with campaigners calling the process “inhumane and degrading” however the DWP has repeatedly defended the process.
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The DWP confirmed in a recent statement that a paper-based assessment “will always be considered in the first instance for all cases” rather than a physical assessment.
The DWP said: “Health Professionals may contact GPs, any named specialist medical professionals or the claimant if they need more information to undertake a paper-based review.
“Health Professionals are expected to consider all available evidence when formulating their advice.
“All evidence must be interpreted and evaluated using medical reasoning, considering the circumstances of the case and the expected impact on the claimant’s daily living and/or mobility. Providers work continuously to drive improvements in assessment services.”
DWP also explained that PIP Case Managers received “extensive training” and are supported and coached by an experienced mentor before passing “rigorous Line Manager checks” before they are able to conduct the assessments.
The statement was a response to a petition calling for a review of the PIP application process.
The Government department said; “As a learning organisation, the Department is continually supporting Case Managers to develop their understanding of the functional needs arising from complex health conditions and disabilities to ensure that robust decisions are reached weighting all of the claimant’s evidence, health professional advice and all supporting evidence.”
The department also highlighted it has introduced a new management process which aims to enhance assessment report quality checks in order to improve the quality of advice the DWP receives.
The department also stated that its PIP assessment reports have been redesigned to have “clearer justifications” which aim to support “improved benefit decision making”.
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