New figures lay bare the scale of cuts to people with the lifelong condition as claimants move from an old welfare system to a new one
Cruel Tory changes to disability benefit have stripped £6million a year from multiple sclerosis sufferers, shock research reveals today.
New figures lay bare the scale of cuts to people with the lifelong condition as claimants move from an old welfare system to a new one.
The MS Society charity, which obtained the figures from the government, warned the cuts are having a “drastic impact” and need fixing “urgently”.
The figures show MS suffers who moved from the old Disability Living Allowance onto a new system, Personal Independence Payments.
Officials downgraded or denied help to nearly a third of 8,800 MS sufferers who were reassessed for PIP in the three years to October 2016.
The Tory government has repeatedly come under fire for its PIP assessment system (Image: PA)
These sufferers were in the group receiving the highest payments to cope with reduced mobility.
In a second group, known as ‘daily living’, 3,400 people receiving the most help were reassessed of which 800 had support downgraded or denied.
The MS Society estimates this cut was worth £4.9million a year in lost benefits for the first group and £1.1million a year for the second.
Spokeswoman Genevieve Edwards said: “These staggering figures show how PIP is failing some of the most vulnerable people with MS who need the highest level of support.
“It doesn’t make sense that people are losing money they once qualified for, when they are living with a progressive condition that will never improve.
The assessments themselves are outsourced to Atos and Capita (Image: Rex Features)
“The Government urgently needs to fix this broken system so that PIP assessments reflect the realities of living with MS.
“Having MS is hard enough; it shouldn’t be made harder by a welfare system that doesn’t make sense.”
The Mirror has already reported the huge toll of former DLA claimants losing out under the new benefit.
Read More : The Tories’ vindictive and expensive fight to deprive disabled people of benefits is a national disgrace
Of 526,000 DLA claimants reassessed for PIP up to October 2016, 21% were rejected altogether and 23% ended up worse off.
Fewer than a fifth of people win their benefits back in internal appeals to the government – but this rises to 61% when people pursue their case to an independent tribunal.
A DWP spokesman said: “Under PIP 36% more Multiple Sclerosis claimants receive the highest rate of support than under DLA.
“We recognise symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis can fluctuate over time, and regular reassessments mean we can ensure people with degenerative conditions get the help they need as their condition changes.
“Assessments consider illnesses which affect sufferers during the majority of days in a year, rather than just on someone’s ‘best days’ or assessing ability on a single day.”