Yesterday (13 February) we told an influential committee of MPs that the long waiting times for appealing a benefits decision at tribunal is failing people with Parkinson's.
We also spoke out about the ‘embarrassing’ level of bad decisions that are overturned once the cases are heard by a tribunal.
LONG WAITING TIMES
Our Senior Policy and Campaigns Advisor, Michael Griffin, was invited to appear before the Work and Pensions Parliamentary Select Committee to talk about the problems with the welfare safety net.
During the session we:
- told MPs that the one of the main causes of poverty in the UK is the extra costs that people face as a result of living with Parkinson’s, which is £16,582 each year for an average household in the UK
- pointed out that in some places people are having to wait up to a year for their case to be heard by a tribunal and that this shows the safety net is not working
- warned that with 72% of PIP decisions being changed once they reached the tribunal it was an embarrassing level of bad decisions
- suggested that the resources wasted on challenging these bad decisions could be better spent supporting people in other ways
After hearing evidence of how the welfare safety net is failing people, Heidi Allen MP went on to say during Prime Minister Questions that: "The unpalatable truth is that our welfare safety net is no longer holding up those most vulnerable in society; it is tangling around their feet and dragging them under the water."
WHEN WILL THE GOVERNMENT ACT?
Parkinson's UK Senior Policy and Campaigns Adviser Michael Griffin commented:
"The cuts to disability benefits over the past few years are going to increase the levels of poverty among people with Parkinson’s, and other health conditions. We are already in a situation where, in the UK, almost 50% of people in poverty are living in a household where someone has a disability. How much higher do poverty levels need to be before the Government takes action?
"Parkinson’s UK is committed to bringing down the waiting times for tribunal hearings and reversing the cuts to disability benefits that have made the lives of people with Parkinson's harder than they need to be."
HELP US CAMPAIGN TO FIX PIP
If you have had to wait a long time to have your PIP appeal heard by a tribunal and are happy for us to tell people about your case then please get in contact to tell us about your experience, email [email protected]
QUESTIONS ABOUT BENEFITS
Our helpline and local advisers are here to answer any questions you have about Parkinson's, including accessing benefits and support.