Those of us helping people navigate the Personal Independence Payments (PIP) system know the problems but people declared fit for work because the assessment centre wasn’t wheelchair accessible is beyond a joke. A recent survey of our members with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) shows that accessibility is one of their key concerns and reports that two in five are sent to non-accessible centres is another reason why.
Removing benefits from those who couldn’t attend an assessment centre not wheelchair accessible is outrageous. One could be forgiven for thinking the aim is to reject as many as possible. This impression could be dispelled with a pledge that no one with a disability will be sent for assessment in a building the disabled can’t access. That is so obvious, I can’t believe I am writing it and the government should be looking into cases where this has not been the case as a matter of urgency.
It took too long to recognise the appalling way the Windrush generation were treated and the scandal of the way people with disabilities are treated could well be next. If I were Esther McVey, I would be making sure I wasn’t the next Amber Rudd by ensuring these practices are addressed and stopped. PIP may well have been designed with best intentions, but is having unintended (I hope) consequences for many of the most vulnerable in our society.
The British Polio Fellowship continues to support those who had Polio and the 120,000 in the UK who now live with PPS but we should not need to help those now scared of, and mis-assessed for PIP if the system worked as it should. If you need our support, call us now on 0800 043 1935 or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship