COMMONS

ESA and PIP claimants share experience of assessments

21 November 2017

The Work and Pensions Committee examines how well the assessments for disability benefits Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) are working.

Investigating the assessment process

The assessments are carried out for Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) by three contractors - Atos, Capita and Maximus.

The unprecedented public response to the Committee's inquiry has included thousands of individual accounts of assessments that range from frustrating to gruelling, often prompting claimants of PIP in particular to go to reconsideration or appeal.

High proportions of DWP decisions for both benefits are overturned at appeal.

The Committee is investigating the assessment process and the reasons why claimants seek to have their decisions overturned.

What are the reasons behind the reported disconnect between claimants' understanding and experience of the assessment, and the final report and decision made from it?

Is the Mandatory Reconsideration and Appeals process effective in resolving disputed claims? What improvements could be made to the assessment process to enable more claimants to get accurate initial assessments? 

2800 web forum submissions

The Committee received an overwhelming response to this inquiry: 2800 individual submissions to the web forum (which usually get 50-100) and a further 450 pieces of written evidence. 

The Committee will hear from five claimants of their own experience with this process, followed by frontline advisors and advocacy groups for the bigger picture.

In the next session the evidence collected and heard will be put to representatives of the contracted assessors themselves.

Witnesses

Wednesday 22 November 2017, Wilson Room, Portcullis House

At 09.30

  • Amanda Browning, PIP and ESA claimant
  • Yolanda Barker, PIP claimant
  • Denise Martin, PIP and ESA claimant
  • Natalie McMinn, PIP and ESA claimant
  • Thomas O’Dell, PIP and ESA claimant

At approximately 10.15am

Please note Wilson Room in Portcullis House has step free access from the Embankment entrance.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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