Juat got this email in response to one of those email letters I sent to my MP about MS & PIP:
Date: 27 February 2013
RE: MS and PIP
Further to enquiries I have made on your behalf regarding Multiple Sclerosis and PIP, I have received the enclosed response.
Esther McVey has provided you with a full and comprehensive response which I hope you will find informative.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have outlined that they realise that assessing conditions of a fluctuating nature is extremely complex but that it is vital that it is done right. On this basis, information will be gathered from the claimant and from health professionals over the course of a year in order to gain a full understanding of the condition.
The assessment will also take into account whether an individual can complete tasks safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly and in a reasonable time period. On top of this, the way in which the task is completed will be taken into account. Equally, a descriptor will only apply to an individual if it applies at any point on a given day on the majority of days. The DWP do not feel that this will be difficult to determine. Claimants will be helped through the process in a number of ways and the assessment providers have been issued with guidance on fluctuating conditions, how to record details of them and how to carry out all aspects of the assessment.
In relation to your concerns regarding symptoms or side-effects, they will be a key factor when considering the manner in which people complete activities.
With regards to ‘Moving Around’, it has always been policy that individuals who are unable to walk more than 50 metres should be entitled to some rate of the mobility component. There is a desire for the enhanced rate to be focused on those with the most serious mobility problems with others receiving the standard rate.
On the subject of face to face consultations, the DWP feel that this will be an important aspect of the assessment in most cases as it will give claimants the opportunity to explain how their health conditions affect them. Despite this, there is an understanding that it will not be appropriate in some cases and guidance has been issued to assessors in relation to paper-based assessments.
The length of awards will be decided on a case by case basis. PIP is designed to assess people individually and award lengths will be based on the claimants needs. They will be reviewed periodically to ensure individuals receive the correct amount.
Finally, the DWP have provided a link where their assessment guidance with the PIP Implementation Stakeholder Forum is available.
Thank you for contacting me about this very important matter. Please do not hesitate to get in touch again if there is anything further I can do as your Parliamentary representative.
Lynne Featherstone MP
Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green
There’s something I find totally terrifying about the wording of this.