Sep 292017

Please send details of your experiences to Work & Pensions Committee by November 10th. You don’t need to address all of the questions just any that are relevant. Please note we do not want you to send this information to us but directly to the Committee.

 Committee launches new inquiry into PIP and ESA assessments 

The Committee is launching a new inquiry on how the assessment processes for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are handled by DWP contractors ATOS, Capita and Maximus, and how the application, assessment and appeals processes for these two benefits are working.

In the last Parliament the Committee held an urgent one-off evidence session in the wake of the announcement of Government plans to restrict the number of people who qualify for PIP, a move which would limit the cost of PIP by £3.7 billion. Evidence taken then revealed worrying disparities between the applicants’ recall of the assessment process and the final report produced to enable DWP to make a decision. The Committee also heard concerns about the contractor assessors’ ability to understand and properly assess a wide range of physical and mental health conditions, and about the dignity and conduct of the assessment process. The latest data shows that claimants are successful in appealing against their decision in 65% of cases, for both PIP and ESA, and that there has been an 29% increase in such appeals being registered since this time last year.

Given high rates of overturn at appeal, the Committee invites evidence on the effectiveness of assessment processes used to determine eligibility for these benefits, and the experience of applicants going through it. The Committee is interested in receiving recommendations for change both on the assessment process for each benefit individually, and on common lessons that can be learned from the two processes.

Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “The truly amazing rate of overturned ESA and PIP decisions seems to point to something being fundamentally wrong with the initial assessment and Mandatory Reconsideration stages. Quite apart from the human cost this represents – the distress and difficulty for applicants trying to get help with daily living or getting into work – it looks to be wasteful, inefficient, and a huge cost to taxpayers.

“We would like to hear from claimants – and assessors – about whether and where the system works, or is failing, and how it might be fixed.”

In particular, the Committee would welcome evidence on the following points, by 10 November 2017:

Assessors and assessments:

  • Do contractor assessors possess sufficient expertise to carry out assessments for people with a wide range of health conditions?
  • Is DWP quality control for contractors sufficient and effective?
  • Should the options for reforming the Work Capability Assessment mooted in the Government’s Improving Lives green paper be taken forward?
  • What examples of best practice in assessing eligibility for benefits are available internationally, and how transferrable are they to ESA and/or PIP?

Mandatory Reconsideration and appeal:

  • Why do claimants seek to overturn initial assessment outcomes for ESA and/or PIP?
  • Why are levels of disputed decisions higher for PIP than for ESA?
  • Is the MR process working well for claimants of ESA and/or PIP?
  • What accounts for the rate of overturned decisions at appeal for PIP and/or ESA?
  • Are there lessons that could be learned from the ESA MR and appeal process for PIP and vice-versa?
  • What changes could be made earlier in the process to ensure fewer claimants feel they need to appeal?

Claimant experiences:

  • Do prospective claimants currently understand the purpose of the assessment?
  • How could claimants be helped to better understand the assessment process?
  • Are some groups of claimants particularly likely to encounter problems with their assessments – and if so, how can this be addressed?
  • Should the assessment processes for PIP and ESA be more closely integrated? How else might the processes be streamlined for claimants?

An easy read version of these terms of reference is available on our website, and we encourage people to join the discussion on our web forum, whether you would like to submit evidence to the inquiry or not.

Committee Membership is as follows:

Frank Field – Chair (Labour), Heidi Allen (Conservative), Andrew Bowie (Conservative), Jack Brereton (Conservative), Alex Burghart (Conservative), Neil Coyle (Labour), Marsha De Cordova (Labour), Ruth George (Labour), Chris Green (Conservative), Steve McCabe (Labour), Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party) 

How to submit evidence is here



[suffusion-the-author display='description']
 Posted by at 20:41

  7 Responses to “Work & Pensions Committee- new inquiry into PIP and ESA assessments”

  1. The ESA WCA and it’s descriptors is biased and designed to cut the number of people claiming ESA it has no other real purpose, It also creates a system where many will exaggerate the impact that their conditions have on them, the HCP’s employed by Maximus and ATOS etc are probably ignoring the undertaking’s they promised to observe with their registering organisation’s such as the GMC Dr’s are supposed to regard everyone they see as the patient regardless of if they are carrying out assessments for benefits etc , They clearly aren’t observing these safeguards
    Then there are the methods used by some HCP’s to measure power and movement as well as muscle loss of the lower limbs,
    They also fail to take into account if a claimant who suffers from mobility issues would be able to travel to and from the workplace on a full-time basis they should video record the WCA

  2. I think the problem is that any enquiry into the assessment process is ultimately futile as the assessment process is wilfully and knowingly flawed. It sets claimants up to fail. I go to appeal on Tuesday and I’m dreading it. I won last year and was placed I the support group. Ten months later another ESA 50 dropped on the mat and here I am nine months later with my condition a lot worse having tried to survive off an overdraft and loans all that time. The statements made in the report which resulted in zero scores all round were inaccurate and insulting. Should I win my appeal on Tuesday I will try to recover to the best of my ability in spite of this government then do my best to get out of this country before they kill me off altogether.
    Any enquiry is a waste of money we need this government out of office or this culling by stealth of the poorest and most vulnerable will continue unabated.

  3. They set up a “forum” (comment section) for this pantomime… ooops I mean… for this “inquiry”.

    As they state that –
    “Comments will be used to inform the Committee’s thinking on this issue.”

    I wrote a little note, just links to evidence of DWP hate crime committed against me and a question “Where are the police ???”
    (they’re now carrying out their threats and are starving me to death, no money at all)

    Surprise surprise the ******s running the website just deleted my attempt to ” inform the Committee’s thinking”.

    Always record everything AND always take screenshots –

    Do they also just delete the Word.doc files submitted via the website to their BS “inquiries”?

    Do they also just delete emails to MP’s addresses?
    (um… screenshot)

  4. It’s disgusting how us disabled are being treated,I for 1 have a degenerative disease and is now having to.put in an appeal for esa,the stress and pain this causes is not good for alot of ill people…sort it out please.

  5. In June 2016 I was assessed by ATOS for my first PIP application. Having previously received DLA (Middle Care & Low Mobility rates) since July 1992 I was hoping for a smooth transition but scored ZERO points? I immediately appealed, within the 30 days allowed and the DWP replied with a virtual ‘copy & paste’ version of ATOS’s report. I needed CAB assistance because of uncontrolled, intractable epilepsy, but even with their help it took until August 2017 before I went before HMCTS appeal panel who, thankfully overturned the DWP’s stance that I was not eligible for disability assistance. The Panel have awarded me ‘Standard’ care and ‘Enhanced’ mobility, leaving me £40 pw better off. Was it really necessary for the taxpayer to fund 13 months of the appeal process and a large 4 figure back payment?
    Given the vehement defense by the DWP my brother and I found it extraordinary for the DWP representative, who sat next to me in court, to say “Why did your case ever need to be brought to court?”.
    The main criticism I can offer of the whole system was having to collate and provide my own medical evidence. Not everyone is capable of making data subject access requests and even afford the £10, or up to £50 payable for medical notes.

  6. It’s very simple stop this madness the torys and atos and capita or murdering the disabled. Stop IT Now You No It’s Happening

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