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David Mitchell image
David Mitchell, British Polio Fellowship

Following the announcement in June that people with severe, life-long conditions are no longer required to attend regular reviews for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the British Polio Fellowship has said the change is a good start but more still needs to be done.

The new guidance instated by the Department of Work and Pensions means those with long-term illnesses will only need to undergo a ‘light touch’ reassessment on a less regular basis than before, saving time and assessment anxiety.

Discussing the new assessment process, David Mitchell, National Chairman of The British Polio Fellowship, commented: “After pressure from charities, The British Polio Fellowship welcomes news the government has changed the rules, so ten years between PIP assessments will apply to more people with disabilities, together with a promise that reassessment will be a ‘light touch’ review.”

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The change in policy came following a report by the Work and Pensions Committee on PIP assessments, highlighting “a pervasive culture of mistrust” and performance failures of external Government assessment contractors.

“PIP applications are stressful enough, without having them every two years. If you live with Post-Polio Syndrome, a neurological condition affecting 120,000 nationally, with no cure, it will not improve in two years,” continued David.

“Is it an effective use of taxpayer’s money to fund regular re-assessments to see if Polio paralysed limbs have miraculously regained movement? This change will only apply to those on the highest levels of PIP, anyway, which leaves many of our members no better off.”

Particularly, David outlined that with assessors reportedly ignorant of well-known conditions like Parkinson’s, it is even harder for those with Post-Polio Syndrome to get a fair hearing.

“Fundamental change is required to a system not serving those who rely on it, or taxpayers who fund it,” added David.

“Government should work with disabled groups and charities and not against us; with a bit of common sense, perhaps we can all see a brighter tomorrow.”

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