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Charities call on Government to provide disabled people with an ‘appropriate assessor’

Campaigners from charities including Scope, Carers UK and Disability Rights UK are urging the Government to provide disabled people with a right to request an appropriate assessor for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments and the Work Capability Assessments (WCA).

09/11/21

Charities call on Government to provide disabled people with an ‘appropriate assessor’

In a letter to Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the campaigners argue that when applying for disability benefits, far too many disabled people get assessed by someone who does not understand their condition.

“Disabled people are being repeatedly failed by stressful and degrading benefits assessments,” Mark Hodgkinson, Chief Executive of Scope wrote in the letter. “This creates enormous anxiety, leaving disabled people forced to fight for the right support, and at risk of poverty when income is ripped away.”

The signatories say that despite all assessors being medical professionals, many often do not have the specialist training to match the conditions of the person they are assessing.

“We believe that disabled people should have a right to request an appropriate assessor. Right now, if someone applies for PIP primarily on the basis of having a learning disability, they could be assessed by a physiotherapist who has little understanding of their needs. A right to an appropriate assessor would mean a disabled person could be assessed by someone with an appropriate medical background and a far better understanding of their needs,” signatories said.

Campaigners have pointed to the fact that more than 70% of PIP decisions taken to a tribunal are found to be wrong, arguing that having the right to request an appropriate assessor could see more correct outcomes the first time around.

“That would have a huge impact on the emotional and financial wellbeing of disabled people. The right to request an appropriate assessor for disability benefits assessments would bring us closer to a system that works for disabled people, not against them,” the letter read.

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