Personal Independence Payment Applications

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:44 pm on 17th June 2015.

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Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Conservative, Beverley and Holderness 4:44 pm, 17th June 2015

I cannot claim to have done such research, but perhaps the Minister can cast some light on the matter. Perhaps we could jointly request further work to see what can be done to try to make sure that we have a balanced system that serves everybody as equitably as possible.

I do not know whether it is wise to pick up something from Facebook at the last minute, but in response to a notice about this debate, a constituent posted this a few minutes ago:

“8 weeks to decide if you are eligible. Another 8 weeks to receive the form. You have 2 weeks to complete it. It then takes then another 8 weeks to arrange someone to visit you and a further 8 weeks for them to decide. That was what I got told this morning when I rang up! That's 34 weeks!!!! How on earth can they justify that????? We will back date it to the date I applied. It will be no good by then....!! Idiots and that's being polite”.

I hope the Minister will be able throw light on that and make sure people are not given such messages, because that is not my understanding of what the situation should look like.

I conclude by stressing again that I support in full the principle behind the Government’s reform of disability benefit. It is right that we target financial assistance at those who need it most, in a way that takes into account the changing nature of many people’s disabilities. I commend the Government’s success in bringing down the overall average processing time in recent months, albeit from unacceptable heights. However, my constituents’ cases show that significant further progress is still required in implementing this reform effectively and ensuring that the system is capable of handling the 1.5 million claimants who still need to migrate from DLA to PIP later this year. I look forward to working constructively with the Government to address the remaining delays that compound the despair and anguish felt by many of my disabled constituents.