MS Society march on Westminster to call for changes to PIP

24 Jan 2020

Yesterday, the MS Society marched to Downing Street to deliver an open letter signed by 21,000 people to the Prime Minister, demanding changes to PIP assessments.

Personal Independence Payments, or PIP, replaced the Disabled Living Allowance in July 2019 for all those aged between 16 and 64. Now, the MS Society have found that over that six month period at least one in four people with MS have had their PIP reduced or cut altogether - often wrongly.

In November last year, the MS Society reported on the ways that PIP is ‘failing’ people with MS with ‘unnecessary barriers’ at ‘every stage of the process’.

MS looks different for everyone and, for many, can be experienced differently from day to day with many of the symptoms ‘hidden’. The Society report that PIP assessors can often make ‘inaccurate decisions based on ‘informal observations’’ and highlight that 67% of those with MS whose assessment included ‘informal observations’ said they did not reflect how MS affects them.

Revealing that the flaw is certainly with the system, 83% of people with MS who appealed their PIP decision after the move from DLA won their case at tribunal. This is a 12% higher than the general rate for overturning a PIP assessment.

MS Society Head of Campaigns and External Relations, Jonathan Blades said:

“The UK’s welfare system is in crisis, leaving thousands of disabled people suffering as a result. A process that was designed to protect society’s most vulnerable is now too often doing the opposite. More than 100,000 of us live with MS in the UK, and we need common-sense changes to PIP now so people can get the basic support they need.

"This doesn’t require a lengthy consultation or elusive green paper. Just decisions backed up by evidence, and assessments carried out by professionals with good knowledge of the condition.

“We hope the Prime Minister will read this letter carefully, and understand the impact these deeply flawed assessments are having. It’s about time we had a benefits process people can trust."

Find out more through the report, ‘PIP fails: how the PIP process betrays people with MS’ (released November 2019), or read personal stories of those with MS who delivered the letter, and their experiences with PIP.

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