MP's fears over disability benefits

By Martin Neville

Friday, March 21, 2014

 

LONG delays following changes to disability benefits have left some people on the Isle of Wight in dire financial straits and one family fearful of losing their home, according to MP Andrew Turner.

Disabled and sick people have been forced to wait long periods for vital financial support, previously available within eight days, due to delays around the new personal independence payment (PIP), the replacement for the disability living allowance (DLA), he said.

Mr Turner, who raised the issue in parliament and then with Atos Healthcare — which carries out assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions — said: "People have come to me facing real hardship, including one family who feared they would lose their house due to delays in PIP eligibility assessments.

"Thankfully I have been able to help them, but I fear there could be other residents suffering in silence."

New claims for PIP began last April and are worth between £21 and £134 a week. Most people applying for PIP have a face-to-face assessment to determine eligibility.

A National Audit Office report last month found claimants were waiting much longer than predicted for a decision on their cases.

Figures obtained by Mr Turner revealed 121 Islanders were still waiting for assessments in February, of which only eight had received appointments.

Mr Turner said: "Many of these people may be managing perfectly well as PIP is not means tested, but I suspect others are in genuine difficulty.

"It is important these people contact me so we can look into the problems. If there are cases of real hardship, Atos will try to prioritise them.

"I am in the process of organising a public meeting which I hope will be on April 25 with Atos and senior DWP staff in attendance, however they will not be able to deal with individual cases at that meeting."

Mr Turner can be contacted on (01983) 530808 or via mail@islandmp.org

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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by alan naylor

22nd March 2014, at 14:08:24

Well done Mr Turner to make a difference in 121 familly lives is a big acievment if you can pull it off under this hard ball goverment towards handicaped and under privigesed people in order to balance the CEO books of big bank jobs

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by sue allen

21st March 2014, at 21:14:05

Well said Jack. If you are so concerned about others don't max out on all you expenses and other perks. What a blatant hypocrite. At the very least don't pretend to be concerned.

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by Mark Hitchman

21st March 2014, at 19:38:22

How can he have fears over something that he and his party considers correct under welfare reform?

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by Mat Thomas

21st March 2014, at 19:35:00

His lot makes the cuts to the disabled and then they say the problem is "delay", who does he think he's kidding.

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by amy morgan

21st March 2014, at 13:35:43

good luck to him, i wonder if you walked in his shoes would you have the same outlook and say i dont want to stay in a hotel and have 3 houses bet the man has worked hard to get what he has, i dont know mr turner or what he does but i know he is a human being and i say well done in what you have achieved in your life mr turner whoever you are x

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by Jack Woodford

21st March 2014, at 10:28:11

More crocodile tears from a man who owns three houses and still lives in a hotel at our expense.
Yup, were all in this together alright.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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