Login to access your account

Wed, 27 May 2020

Personalise Your Politics

Subscribe now
The House Live All
By Rosie Duffield MP, Neil Coyle MP and Bob Blackman MP
By Westminster Briefing
Press releases

Former IPSA head slams disability benefits assessments as ‘Kafka-esque’

Former IPSA head slams disability benefits assessments as ‘Kafka-esque’
2 min read

The former Chair of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has said that the system for assessing benefits has created a “hostile environment” for disabled people. 

Andrew McDonald, who now chairs the disability charity Scope, made the comments after he had his benefits stopped after being told he was not ill enough to qualify for personal independence payment (PIP). 

Mr McDonald, who has Parkinson’s and terminal prostate cancer, told the BBC’s Today Programme this morning that a “full overhaul of the system” was needed and that “if anybody from any party thinks that PIP is fixed, they’re wrong.” 

The former watchdog chair was twices deemed to qualify for the payment by review boards after resigning has head of IPSA in 2014. However, a third review in March ruled that he was no longer eligible for the benefit. 

PIP is not means tested and is intended to cover the additional costs of living with disability.

Speaking to the Guardian, Mr McDonald said that he was shocked that 71% of PIP decisions were overturned when appealed at a tribunal. 

“I was shocked by the way this was being administered against the interests of some of the most disadvantaged people in the country.” 

He said: “the system of a whole does create the impression of it being a hostile environment where two of the foes are complexity and the sense that it is not a level playing field.”

“I thought this was a system to give people a hand up; in practice they encounter a sleight of hand that is completely out of kilter with the best traditions of British Public service in which I was not only raised but worked for most of my career.” 

A spokesperson from the Department for Work and Pensions said that it was attempting to improve the PIP assessment process.

“We constantly seek to improve the quality of PIP assessments. We have undertaken two independent reviews of PIP and most recently announced that we will pilot video recording of assessments, to help increase people’s trust in the assessment process."

Read the most recent article written by Alex Hacillo - Philip Hammond 'forced to abandon' private school VAT plans


Westminster Briefing
The Building Regulations and Fire Safety Conference

Your chance to explore first-hand what solutions are being put in place to meet challenges in building and fire safety

Find out more