1 March 2017
Mike Jaega, Vice Chair of DEBRA’s Board of Trustees, made the following statement:
Following coverage in the press regarding proposed cuts to disability-related benefits and changes to the scoring system for calculating Personal Independence Payments I thought it would be a good idea to share our current understanding of the situation.
The assessment for a PIP award is calculated by a points scoring system, both for the daily living and mobility components. On the face of it the proposed changes should not impact people with EB as they can score points on aspects of day-to-day living support requirements as well as meeting the criteria for help managing their medication and therapy. The changes to the mobility scoring system are not referring to physical ability, so again, this should not impact people with EB.
However, the implementation of PIP assessments has been controversial and our experience has been that the EB community do need support to get what they genuinely need. EB is a genuine special needs case and it is a major part of DEBRA’s role to fight for these benefits to be given.
Accordingly we have expanded our EB community support team to assist with PIP applications and appeals. The process of appeal is called Mandatory Reconsideration and this is where a formal request is made to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to review their decision. If the claimant is still not happy with this reviewed decision, they can request it is heard at an independent tribunal. The tribunal will look at all the evidence that has been presented to the DWP and make a judgement based on whether the DWP made an error in law in making their decision.
Information from the DWP still indicates that either new oral or documentary evidence supplied at appeal hearings are the leading reasons for PIP decisions being overturned in 75% of recorded cases. If you do have any concerns about changes to the system or are making a PIP application please contact DEBRA’s EB Community Support team as they may be able to help you (email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01344 771961).