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PIP Assessments Recording Victory For Campaign

PIP Assessments Recording Victory For Campaign

Personal Independence Payment assessments taking place over the phone are now to be recorded following a campaign spearheaded by Sheffield activists.

There had been much controversy over these assessments – which usually happened face-to-face before the Covid-19 pandemic- with claims of dishonesty which has often led to claimants’ benefits being reduced or even cut altogether. You were allowed to record them but specialised equipment was required which put many people off.

However the Benefits And Work website has reported that ATOS, one of the firms tasked with conducting the assessments, has now started recording PIP telephone assessments taking place during the Covid-19 crisis and that those undergoing the assessments can ask for it to be recorded and for a copy. There are also plans to get Capita, the other firm involved, to do the same. You can see the report here.

DPAC Sheffield, the local branch of campaigning organisation Disabled People Against Cuts, was at the forefront of the campaign with their On The Record fundraiser to purchase recording equipment for home assessments. The first person to use this equipment was a Disability Sheffield volunteer, and enough money was eventually raised to purchase several kits, two of which are kept in the Disability Sheffield office . The campaign won support nationally and was also taken up by other groups including ‘mental health survivors and supporters’ organisation Recovery In The Bin.

Jennifer Jones from DPAC Sheffield said: “While we are acutely aware that this may only be a temporary measure during the pandemic as PIP assessments have had to move to phone interviews, we are nonetheless proud of this result and of all of the DPAC activists up and down the country who contributed to it. Without the On The Record campaign laying the groundwork for this it doesn’t bear thinking about how the words of claimants could be twisted.

“The fact is we know that assessors lie, they’ve been proven to have lied, indeed some have even been sacked when they have been exposed. But the bottom line is that PIP assessments, an hour tops with a complete stranger and a tick box chart are not a suitable way to decipher how someone’s disability affects our daily life.

“We will continue to call for the abolishment of the assessments and for a fairer system to be put in its place. Thank you to all who have supported us. “

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