Confirmation that thousands of pensioners will no longer have to undergo repeat assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP), is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough, Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has said.
The Foyle MLA was commenting after the Department of Communities confirmed that it will end repeat PIP assessments for 7,500 pensioners from the spring.
“The entire PIP assessment is beset with problems and needs to be fundamentally overhauled,” Karen Mulan said.
“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction and will be welcome news for the thousands of pensioners affected. However, it is only one step and much more needs to be done.
“PIP assessments are being carried out in an unacceptable way right across the board.
“People are coming to our offices right across the North to highlight the trauma, stress and the loss of vital benefits that is being caused due to the cruel way in which many of these assessments are being conducted by Capita on behalf of the Department for Communities.
“We have already called on the Public Services Ombudsman to investigate the handling of PIP assessments and that probe is now underway.
“However, we will continue to keep the pressure on the department and making it abundantly clear that we feel the department is failing in its duty of care to some of the most vulnerable people in our society and urgent reform is needed.”