News this week that Personal Independence Payment waiting times have risen three weeks in three months is simply alarming. This means people wait 14 weeks on average for PIP. As Chairman of a charity with over 8,000 people living with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), many of our members and thousands more are being let down – facing an agony of waiting. Statistics show less than half are awarded the benefit at the end of this, yet our members do go on to win on appeal – suggesting this system is flawed.
If you had to wait 14 weeks to be paid, facing the possibility you might not get the money anyway, it would have a catastrophic impact. What’s more, the appeal process means another delay to receive what you are entitled to. Surely a working assumption those claiming the old benefit will still qualify would make sense and then cut payments if necessary post assessment? This would spare the agony of waiting; a cruel, unusual punishment for people who are not criminals and have done nothing wrong except live with a disability.
One only has to look at the high rate of awards changed and appeals won to see the failures in this process. Universal Credit and PIP are meant to help not hinder but until sanity prevails, our help is a phone call away on 0800 043 1935 or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship