Home Money JEFF PRESTRIDGE: PIP ‘barbarity’ is so unfair on those who have suffered enough

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: PIP ‘barbarity’ is so unfair on those who have suffered enough

by Elijah
0 comment
Future problems: PIP, administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, is paid to those with long-term physical or medical conditions that make everyday tasks difficult.

Life is full of twists and turns. Sometimes for the better; sometimes not. A few days ago I was contacted by a young woman who had been through a traumatic situation for the last three years. In late 2020, she was involved in a terrible car accident that changed the course of her life.

It was hard not to shed a tear. At one point, a mother building a successful career in a consulting firm specializing in environmental issues.

The next, unable to work, a mortgage to pay and a young daughter to care for.

Her life literally turned upside down because a driver came out of nowhere and crashed her car almost head-on, with her daughter in the back seat.

Although her daughter was fortunately unharmed, the full force of the impact passed through Helen’s body and her knee bent the key in the car’s ignition. He has since been diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder (FND) which manifests itself in memory loss, slurred speech, tremors and problems walking. She has undertaken an FND rehabilitation program, which helped her temporarily, but she also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Future problems: PIP, administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, is paid to those with long-term physical or medical conditions that make everyday tasks difficult.

Only the love of her daughter and her closest friends keeps her on the right path. The compensation claim against the offending driver continues while she works part-time at the consultancy, albeit in a less stressful role.

Helen contacted me after Lisa, someone who works in financial services and who knows her well, read my article last weekend about the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). An article that led Lisa to shout: ‘YES! Finally, someone has written about how horrible the PIP process can be.’

PIP, administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is paid to those with long-term physical or medical conditions that make everyday tasks difficult. Although income is not verified, payments are subject to review, and these can be harrowing experiences that sometimes require a medical evaluation. They can also cause payments to be suspended, leaving claimants in the lurch.

Last week’s article followed an article I wrote a month ago about a woman who received a text from the DWP on Christmas Day informing her that her PIP was being reviewed. She struggles with mental health issues that are managed with epilepsy medications.

Upon reading the text, she went into a crisis and suffered a panic attack that ruined the holiday for her and her family. A Freedom of Information Request confirmed the recipient was not alone: ​​the DWP sent 1,454 text messages on Christmas Day, informing people of impending PIP reviews.

Helen’s battle for PIP dates back to 2021. She was initially denied payment. He then asked for a mandatory reconsideration, but was again denied.

Encouraged by Lisa, who had had her own PIP battles in the past, Helen took her case to court and won. The result was a monthly payment of £500, retroactive to the time she first lodged her claim.

However, as with PIP, Helen’s payments stop in May, so she has had to reapply. So far she has provided medical evidence supporting continued payment and has undergone a DWP assessment, a grueling two-and-a-half hour ordeal which she found quite harrowing.

She describes the assessment as “barbaric”, carried out by people who she says knew little about her condition. “It was like they wanted to catch me,” she adds.

Helen will soon find out if her PIP will continue beyond May and is keeping her fingers crossed.

“I’m all for stopping people who claim benefits fraudulently,” he says, “but the PIP review system is dehumanizing.”

“He seems to treat everyone dispassionately and makes you feel unworthy.”

He adds: ‘Before the accident I was dealing with multi-million pound projects at work. I now work part time and struggle with technical documents, trust, and information processing.

‘I used to enjoy telling jokes and making people laugh. Now I can’t because I stutter and confuse the words. I’m sorry for the loss of the person you were.’

As for Lisa, she thanked me for “shedding light on the crazy system that is PIP.”

I requested a response from the DWP on how PIP reviews are carried out. For the record, I was not prepared to discuss Helen’s case for fear of inadvertently jeopardizing the ongoing review of her, or others I have received.

The DWP said: ‘We were not given the opportunity to investigate specific cases.

‘However, we support millions of people every year and our priority is that they receive a timely, caring and compassionate service.

‘All disability advisers are qualified health professionals who are trained to advise based on all available information, and support is provided to vulnerable clients at every stage of the claims process. Our providers (Independent Assessment Services and Capita Business Services) consistently exceed their customer satisfaction targets of 90 percent for PIP. If a client disagrees with a decision, he has the right to request a review.’

He also added that 99 percent of evaluations begin within 30 minutes of the appointment time.

Perhaps Helen’s experience is the exception that breaks the rule. But people like her shouldn’t have to go through PIP hell. They have already had a lifetime’s worth.

Direct Line risks backlash by eliminating coverage for second homes

Direct Line has stopped insuring second properties and holiday homes. He confirmed his decision after a reader sent me a letter from the insurer informing me that his coverage would not be renewed at the end of March.

The insurer told me: ‘Clients insuring second properties and holiday homes often have different needs to those insuring their main residence. For example, coverage is sometimes needed for extended periods when the property is unoccupied. Our coverage is designed to meet the needs of clients who insure their primary residence.’

Idyllic: But owners of second homes or vacation rentals will have to seek refuge elsewhere

Idyllic: But owners of second homes or vacation rentals will have to seek refuge elsewhere

He said all affected customers would be helped to find coverage elsewhere. Owning a second home or a vacation rental (I, by the way, don’t have one) is becoming more difficult every day. Councils are hitting homeowners with large tax bills, stamp duty costs are onerous (subject to a three per cent surcharge) and full-time resident neighbors can be hostile.

I trust that Direct Line has thought well about what it is doing. Many second home clients also have their primary residence insured with Direct Line, so they could react by taking all their business elsewhere, as the reader who contacted me has done. Everyone loses.

Finally the banking center arrives

It’s been a long time coming, but the town of Syston in Leicestershire finally saw its banking center open last Friday.

Although the city was earmarked for a hub (a shared bank branch run by the Post Office) at the end of 2021 after the last bank pulled out, finding suitable premises has been problematic.

A temporary center opened at the city’s community center late last year, but flooding forced it to close for a time. The permanent center facilities, the former Santander branch, were also flooded, delaying its opening.

However, it is now operational, much to the delight of locals. “It’s great news,” says Rosemarie Collins, a 73-year-old Syston resident. “Like many of my friends, I prefer to do my banking in a branch rather than online, so a permanent center is a boost for the city.”

Banking center launches are as rare as hen’s teeth: 33 to date. However, I am told that by the end of the year there will be 100 operating in cities without banks.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them, we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

You may also like