- 2023 National Disabled Members' Conference
- 6 July 2023
- Carried as Amended
This National Disabled Conference notes with concern that the process of applying for Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) continues to be long, arduous and stressful with an unacceptably large number of disabled people still being refused benefit through the PIP process.
Conference is further concerned that the staff employed to undertake assessments frequently have little knowledge of, or expertise in, medical and disability issues and that this lack of understanding is compounded by the fact that they often appear to have little empathy with applicants during the PIP interview process. This is particularly the case in the assessment of hidden/non-apparent disabilities which present assessors with conditions with which they are frequently unfamiliar and for which they have received little training. This leads to a situation in which many assessments are entirely inadequate in reflecting the real needs of vulnerable people and in which the information set out on completed forms is all too often based on a very superficial assessment.
Conference recognises that the vast majority of PIPs are awarded to people who have life-long disabilities or are experiencing long term health conditions. Conference is appalled that vulnerable people in this situation are regularly compelled to reapply for PIP and thus be unnecessarily subjected to the acute stress and anxiety which this inevitably causes over the period of the reassessment. Conference further believes that, given the increasing backlog and considerable delays produced by the number of unnecessary reassessments, the time during which they subject to this pressure and worry is entirely unacceptable.
Conference believes that this situation needs to be addressed by the introduction of appropriate life-long PIP awards which properly reflect the needs of people with disabilities and long-term health issues.
Conference calls on the National Disabled Members Committee to:
1)Continue to campaign for a PIP assessment system which is adequately resourced so that applicants are properly assessed and no longer subject to unacceptable delays
2. Call on the Government to ensure that all PIP assessors are adequately trained to recognise and understand all aspects of disability issues – including hidden/non-apparent disabilities
3. Campaign for the need for appropriate life-long PIP awards to avoid the situation in which people with long term disabilities and health issues are subjected to continual reassessment
4. Continue to work with UNISON’s There for You charity to provide information to Branch Welfare Officers to assist them in signposting members to support services assisting members going through PIP assessments
5. Work with UNISON Labour Link in support of a PIP system which is fit for purpose in terms of meeting the needs of people with disabilities